2018 Farmers Insurance Open DFS Picks and Preview
2018 Farmers Insurance Open DFS Picks & Preview
Course(s): Torrey Pines North Course, Torrey Pines South Course (La Jolla, California)
Yardage: North 7,258, South 7,698
Purse: 6.9 M
Field: 156 players
Recent Farmers Insurance Open Champions
Jon Rahm must be feeling pretty good this week. He was using the CareerBuilder Challenge as a tune-up for the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Rahm set the pace on Thursday shooting a bogey-free 62. He went on to defeat Andrew Landry in a four-hole playoff and capture his second PGA win, fourth worldwide victory, and he moves up to a career-best second in the world golf ranking. So, I’d say Rahm is officially “tuned-up” and feeling pretty good about his chances to defend his title this week.
This week is the official unofficial start to the 2018 golf season. Although the season actually started back in October and restarted again at Kapalua the first week of January, this week is the week! A good handful of the big boys will be back out there making the player pool one notch below the strength of a major. Speaking of majors, there will be 14 more majors worth of experience in the field with the presence of one Tiger Woods. Although, Tiger appeared at his own Hero World Challenge in December, that tournament is not an official PGA event, so in terms of collecting FedEx Cup points, this is Tiger’s official return to the PGA Tour. With Dustin Johnson sitting this one out, that makes Rahm the highest ranked player this week. He’ll be chased by notables Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Marc Leishman and Phil Mickelson.
The famed Torrey Pines is the site of the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open. The 156-man field will play each course once between Thursday and Friday, and the top 70 and ties will finish the weekend on the South Course for two more rounds. With three of the rounds being played on the South Course, that is the course we’ll focus on. Torrey Pines South is long. It plays out to just about 7,700 yards, so for starters, it doesn’t hurt to target players who are both solid in driving distance. This isn’t Erin Hills though, the course may be long, but the fairways aren’t giant runways to land on. Players have to have more than just sheer power when getting off the tee, so strokes gained: off the tee will separate those who are long, and those who are long and calculated. With many long approach shots on this course, players will find themselves in the 175-225 range often. If you can’t make a birdie or two per round within those ranges, you’re gonna have a bad time. Look at birdie or better % 175-200 yards as well as the 200+ ranges. The days of multiple players going 20 under par will end this week. Winners of this tournament are usually among the tops in strokes gained: tee-to-green. No surprise there as you look back at the past winners, it was always someone who had a great year that year.
Strokes Gained: off-the-tee
Birdie or better % 175-200 yards
Birdie or better % 200+ yards
Strokes gained: tee-to-green
Jon Rahm ($11,800)
I ignored the chalk last week, I will not ignore him this week. Jon Rahm once again is the highest priced player this week, and it’s not a difficult decision. Rickie Fowler, for whatever reason, has been consistently poor in recent years here, and Justin Rose and Matsuyama have been very hard to predict as of late. Rahm is feeling great after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge, and don’t just write him off because of the long odds of winning two in a row. This kid is special. I wouldn’t count him out of winning three in a row.
Tony Finau ($8,700)
Tony Finau looks like he’s made for this type of course. This season Finau has been the longest hitter in the field (2nd on tour) and he ranks within the top 20 in the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee. Last season Finau ranked second behind Dustin Johnson in birdie or better % from 175-200 yards, he should be in that range all week. To top it off, Finau was a top 10 player last season in strokes gained: tee to green, and he finished in fourth place here. He looks poised to make a real run this year at courses like this where ball striking is very important.
Francesco Molinari ($7,400)
In the low-mid 7K range I found a bunch of players I really like. Francesco Molinari is a great value at this price. He’ll make the cut 90 percent of the time and can contend in any field as he showed last year when he finished second in the PGA Championship. Molinari is one of the best iron players year in and year out. He’s not the longest hitter but makes up for that with amazing accuracy and supreme ball striking. Molinari was fourth last season in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and 23rd in strokes gained: off-the-tee. A 14th place finish last year proves that the distance of Torrey doesn’t affect his game.
J.B Holmes ($7,400)
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard of J.B, but I have two words for you..COURSE HORSE. J.B has been a horse here in recent years. T-33 last year, T-6 the year before that, he lost in a playoff in 2015, T-23 in 2014. So that’s four straight years of 33rd or better, with two Top 6 finishes. J.B. is the second longest hitter in this field behind Finau and ranked 28th in strokes gained: off-the-tee last season.
Kyle Stanley ($7,400)
Did I say course horse? Well, make that two course horses with Kyle Stanley. Stanley has finished 25th and 14th in the last two years, and if you were a big golf fan in 2012 you’d remember Stanley had this tournament all wrapped up, only to spin his final approach back into the water, make an eight and go on to lose a playoff to Brandt Snedeker. While the memory is not fond it was still a second-place finish recorded for Stanley. He’s since had more solid finishes at Torrey and is coming off of a terrific bounce-back 2017 season.
Charley Hoffman ($7,200)
Charley Hoffman at this price is a no-brainer. Hoffman, who generally steps his game up in stronger fields, ranks inside the Top 30 in the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green, off-the-tee, driving distance, and birdie or better % from 200-plus yards. It seems like every year Hoffman gets overlooked at big tournaments only for us to see him at the top of the leaderboard after Friday or Saturday. He doesn’t always bring it home, but at $7,200 he doesn’t have to.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dante Carrer
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