Farmers Insurance Open
Analysis and write-up provided by KendoVT. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to see each player’s tournament history. We are a bit light on tournament history this week since two of the three courses in the rotation are brand new. However, we can use past tournament performance to find players who can manage different courses over the same tournament.
The PGA Tour is in sunny La Jolla, California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. The Farmers will be played on the North AND South courses at Torrey Pines. Golfers will play both courses on Thursday and Friday and if they make the cut, they will finish with two rounds on the South Course. The North course is by far the easier of the two. It’s under 7,000 yards long with four par 3s and four par 5s. All the par 5s at the North course are reachable in two by the majority of the golfers. The fairways are tight and the rough is on the thick side but the greens are large. The North course usually plays almost 4 strokes easier per round than the South course. Golfers will need to take advantage of their one round here because the South course is a monster. The South course is a 7,700 yard par 72 with four par 3s and four par 5s. It’s the longest course on Tour and one of the most difficult as well. The fairways are very tight and surrounded by many bunkers. The greens on the South course are small and there are many bunkers surrounding the greens as well. Both courses use bumpy poa annua grass for their greens (though the North course is a blend of poa annua and bent grass) making putting much more difficult than last week’s pristine greens at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Both courses are situated on cliffs right next to the Pacific Ocean making wind a factor. The weather as of now is supposed to be good with light winds Thursday thru Saturday but Sunday could be trouble. Rain and 30 mph winds are forecasted for Sunday which could make for an interesting final round.
Looking at the course description above, a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats, current form, and course history to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups this week. I will be putting a little more emphasis than usual on course history because 11 of the past 12 winners have finished inside the Top 20 in one of their two previous appearances at Torrey Pines before the win.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G) and Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P), which are key stats every week.
Driving Distance (DD):
The South Course is LONG. Good DD is going to help golfers a lot. The fairways are tough to hit, even for accurate drivers. In my opinion a wedge from the rough is an easier play than a 175-200 yard shot from the fairway at the South course. DD will also help on the North course because it is a shorter track. In the last five years 75% of the golfers that finished in the Top 3 were inside the Top 50 in DD for the specific year they finished in the Top 3.
Par 5 scoring (P5):
All four par 5s on the North course are reachable in two. Golfers will need to take advantage of their one round on the North course and the easiest way to do it is on the par 5s. There are usually more eagles made by golfers in one round at the North course than there are in all three rounds at the South course combined. 70% of golfers that finished in the Top 3 the last five years have been inside the Top 70 in P5 for that specific year.
Proximity from 200+ yards (Prox200+):
There will be a lot of 200+ yard shots this week whether it’s from the tee on long par 3s, approach shots on long par 4s, or guys going for it in two on par 5s. 65% of the golfers that finished in the Top 3 the last 5 years have finished inside the Top 80 in this stat for that specific year.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
Golfers will need as many birdies as possible on the North course to make the cut. Birdies will also be a necessity on the South course because there will be bogeys. 80% of the golfers that finished in the Top 3 the last five years have been inside the Top 74 in this stat for that specific year.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
*** I will be using stats from last season but I will take a peak at this year’s stats where applicable.
Jason Day ($12,000):
Day is playing his second tournament of the year this week. He looked rusty early on at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions but came on during the weekend. He is one of the best golfers in the world and he is the betting favorite this week. Of course his stats are going to be great and the $12,000 price tag is not that high considering last year at this very same tournament Jordan Spieth was $15,500. Lots of solid players in the $7,000-$8,000 range so using him in lineups this week won’t be too difficult. I probably still won’t use him in cash games because of his lack of time on the course lately but he will be in a few GPPs of mine. (GPP only)
Rickie Fowler ($11,600):
Fowler won last week at Abu Dhabi against an elite field. He is slowly trying to get in the same league as Spieth, Rory, and Day and will do so once he wins a Major, which I think will happen this year. His stats are solid and he is my #2 ranked golfer in the field this week. I’m a little worried about the drastic time change he has to go through but I will still be using him in GPPs. (GPP only)
Dustin Johnson ($11,100):
DJ’s stats line up really well with the course this week. He’s 9th in SG:T2G, 5th in BoB%, 3rd in P5, 1st in DD, and 13th in Prox200+. There is a little risk in using him in cash lineups this week because he hasn’t played the best at Torrey Pines in the past but he has finished as high as 3rd here before. He is actually my #1 ranked golfer this week.(GPP only)
Brandt Snedeker ($10,700):
Sneds plays really well at Torrey Pines. In his 10 starts here he only has two missed cuts with seven Top 20s, six Top 10s, four Top 3s, and a victory in 2012. His current form is solid as well. He is coming off a playoff loss at the Sony Open and his game is beginning to come around after a poor year by his standards in 2015. A victory is coming for him soon. I love his price and he will be a staple in my cash game lineups. He is my pick to win this week. (GPP and Cash)
Phil Mickleson ($10,500):
Lefty makes my pick list for the first time in awhile. His price is high and there is a possibility he blows up but he looked really strong last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. His masterful short game should be a big plus this week with the smallish greens and trouble surrounding them. The worry I have with him is that he has been spraying his tee shots all over the place the last few years and he always goes for crazy miracle shots. Instead of playing the smart shot, he always goes for the gusto. This is one of the main reasons he is such a fan favorite but he can definitely bite you in the ass sometimes when it comes to DFS. He is my #3 ranked golfer this week. (GPP only)
Paul Casey ($9,600):
Casey played some of his best golf of his career last year and I think it should carry over into the 2016 season. His stats for the course are solid. He’s 10th in SG:T2G, 31st in BoB%, 13th in P5, 35th in DD, and 10th in Prox200+. He missed the cut in his only other appearance here last year but he was not playing anywhere close to the level he is now. (GPP and Cash)
Charles Howell III ($9,400):
CH3 has been playing some real consistent golf lately. He made all 7 cuts so far in the 2015-2016 season with SIX Top 17s. His course history at Torrey Pines is spectacular as well. He has made his last eleven cuts here with seven Top 15s, five Top 10s, and three Top 5s. He hits the ball long off the tee, plays par 5s well, and his tee to green game is solid. I like him a lot this week. (GPP and Cash)
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Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.