Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Farmers Insurance Open
The PGA Tour stays out West this week for the Farmers Insurance Open, the annual visit to Torrey Pines Golf Course. Torrey Pines is a municipal course in La Jolla, California near San Diego, arguably the most famous muni in America and one of the top courses in the world.
As was the case with Pebble Beach a couple years ago, Torrey is pulling double duty this season as the host of the U.S. Open in June. Like Pebble, the course may be prepped and ready for the USGA’s annual stress test, but that doesn’t mean this week will look like a major championship. Some golfers will want a sneak peek at the venue or just have a built-in comfort level with the course, while others would rather skip and avoid the risk of building any memories that won’t matter come major championship time.
Golfers will play the South Course and the North Course once each over their first two rounds, and cut-makers will tee it up twice more at the more difficult South Course. It’s there that Tiger Woods downed Rocco Mediate in an unforgettable 18-hole playoff back in 2008, and there that June’s installment will be held. Rees Jones began renovations on the South Course before last year’s event and could stretch what was already one of the longest courses on Tour to over 7,800 yards by the time the U.S. Open rolls around.
Headlining a strong field are former champion Jon Rahm and possible future champion Rory McIlroy, whose game is a perfect fit for Torrey Pines and who has finished inside the top-five in his two trips. All told, 13 of the top 25 golfers in the world are in the field this week.
Rain is in the early forecast for both Thursday and Friday before calmer conditions over the weekend. If entering multiple lineups in daily fantasy contests, course and wave stacking is very much in play this week when constructing lineups, and those playing just one or two lineups should still monitor the forecast for possible rostership leverage opportunities.
Let’s dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: South Course (one of first two rounds, both weekend rounds)
Distance: 7,765 yards
Fairways/Rough: Poa annua
Greens: Kikuyu grass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
Course: North Course (one of first two rounds)
Distance: 7,258 yards
Greens: Kikuyu grass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
The South Course is the majority of the rounds and is by far the harder of the two, with the shorter North Course playing at least a stroke (and often more) easier just about every year. After two rounds last year, the difference was almost three strokes, with the field playing the South Course 201 strokes over par and the North Course 221 strokes under par after two rounds. Over the course of the full week, the South Course grind takes over, with the winning score the last few years coming in at 15-under, 21-under, 10-under, and 13-under. Banking a low score at the North Course is absolutely crucial to contending here.
We’ll focus on the South Course and look to championship-caliber courses for our comparisons this week, eying the Black Course at Bethpage Black (2019 PGA Championship), Augusta National, and Quail Hollow Golf Club (annually the Wells Fargo Championship, more specifically the 2017 PGA Championship). We are looking for golfers who succeed when driving the ball well is an essential skill, and where long approaches into tight, difficult greens are necessary at every turn. The current state of play on the PGA Tour is that the par 5s just cannot be long enough to take birdie out of the equation, but otherwise these courses have no let-up.
These stats will be key to success in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
|Key Stats for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained 175+|
As alluded to above, you simply must strike the ball well here to have a chance. Last year’s winner Marc Leishman gained eight strokes putting in just his three South Course rounds, but he still needed to finish inside the top-five in approach on the week to win by a single stroke.
Not surprisingly, given the length of the course, golfers will be beyond 175 yards for most of their second shots, and the shortest par 3 on either course is the 177-yard eighth on the South Course. The importance of nailing the approaches and setting up birdie opportunities cannot be overstated. If you miss those chances on the par 5s, it is unlikely you’ll be able to make those strokes up elsewhere.
Course History Studs
Rahm picked up his first professional win here back in 2017 and has played well in each of the succeeding installments. He was T29 defending his title, one back after 36 holes before shooting 75 and 77 on the weekend. In the two years since he was T5 and runner up last year by a single stroke.
McIlroy’s small but strong record here is covered above, and another golfer with terrific form here even without a victory is Tony Finau. He finished T24 on debut in 2015, and since then has finished 18th, 4th, 6th, 13th, and 6th.
Jason Day is a two-time winner here, in 2015 and 2018. He has three other top-10 finishes and was T16 last year.
Leishman won last year but is another golfer with a long history of good finishes, including runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2014 and two other top 10s in 2011 and 2018.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.