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PGA TOUR: Mike Glasscott's Farmers Insurance Open preview

Mike Glasscot runs through his runners and riders as the fourth week of the 2024 PGA TOUR shifts to the California coastline of San Diego and Torrey Pines Golf Club.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. 

The first three weeks of the season have produced winners sitting at pretournament odds of 100/1 or larger.

We won’t get fooled again, right?

The fourth week of the 2024 PGA TOUR season shifts to the California coastline of San Diego and Torrey Pines Golf Club.

A field of 156 players, three courses, and a winning score of 29 under didn’t deter Nick Dunlap (400/1) from becoming the first AMATEUR winner on TOUR since 1991.

Deep breath. Let’s try this again. 

And don’t forget, the tournament runs from Wednesday through Saturday! Set a reminder!
 

PGA TOUR


Top of the Board:

Xander Schauffele (9/1): The first of four Californians at the top of the board, the native of San Diego rolls in as the favorite after T10 at Kapalua and T3 last week at The American Express. After four rounds in the desert, his scorecard included only one bogey and one double. Closing 63-65 on the Stadium Course, he will enjoy another week on Poa annua greens. The current Las Vegas resident shared second in the 2021 edition followed by T7 in the 2021 U.S. Open. 

Patrick Cantlay (10/1): Closing with 76 last week, the Long Beach native plummeted from T10 to T52 in the desert. Adding the Farmers for the first time since 2019, his record here outside of T15 at the 2021 U.S. Open is MC-T51-MC. 

Collin Morikawa (11/1): The winner at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP last fall followed on with T5 at The Sentry to kickoff 2024. Cashing T4 at the 2021 U.S. Open, the Los Angeles native cashed third here last season. If he leads the field in the Fairways and runs second in GIR again this season, he will have another chance to win.

Max Homa (11/1): The 2023 champion was the first winner from California since Tiger Woods in 2013. The Burbank native has six wins on TOUR, four coming in the Golden State. Balanced throughout the bag, he closed with 66 last year to make up five shots and win. The last player to defend here was Tiger Woods from 2005-2008. 

Ludvig Åberg (18/1): There’s enough evidence presented before this week to push him through the trends of recent winners at the South Course. Possessing the horsepower to handle the 7,765 yards, his short game numbers suggest he’s not a one-trick pony. I’m not going to talk anybody out of loading up on him, but four inches of rough and Poa annua makes ME think twice.

Sungjae Im (22/1): The Korean is trending after T4-T6 in his last two visits. Making his sixth start, every performance following his debut has improved. Racking up birdies to cash T5 and T25 in his first two starts of the season, he won’t have to worry about creating momentum this week. 

Min Woo Lee (25/1): The Australian will look to become just the seventh international winner. The 25-year-old from Perth, a winner twice in his last five worldwide and T21 last week, will also need to buck the trend of the last six winners being 30 years or older. 

Tony Finau (25/1): Imagine posting 36-under over two events and not sniffing the top 20 in either. The 17-under on the card at the Sentry was good for T38 while 19-under last week paid T25. All eight rounds were in red figures and the 60s. Missing the cut in 2022, his other eight visits resulted in T24 or better. Painting the top 10 in five of the last seven, I’ll stick him at the top of my ticket.

Jason Day (25/1): Joining Finau at the top of my ticket will be one of two multiple winners in the field. The Aussie, winner in 2018 and 2015, both in playoffs, racks up top finishes up and down the coast of the Golden State. Playing the weekend ten times, he’s taken home top-10 money seven times, including T7 and T3 the last two years.


Angles 

The South Course plays 7,765 yards (Par-72) and was the longest track used on TOUR in 2023. 

The North Course stretches to 7,258 yards (Par-72) and will play close to three shots easier than the South. 

The South Course has ranked first in scoring average (non-major) in two of the last three seasons. Finding fairways happens less than 55 percent of the time. The Poa annua greens, averaging 5,000 square feet, rank inside the top 15 of the toughest to hit on approach. Birdies and eagles are earned and scrambling for par won’t lose ground to the field.

The North Course features Bentgrass greens, averaging 6,000 square feet, prepped to swallow well-struck putts. With more room to attack from the rough, scoring relaxes, at least for 18 holes.

The last three winners are from the U.S. The four previous were internationals.

Experience matters. The last six champions needed five or more attempts to break through. Debutants at the event have won twice, and first-time winners on TOUR number just three. 

Poa annua greens are in play again this week for three of the four rounds.

The South Course has eight Par-4 holes stretching over 450 yards, four inches of overseeded rough, closely mown areas, and Poa annua greens. I’m leaning on players who can handle four days of tough conditions and can use all 14 clubs.

Torrey Pines and the South Course will host three of the four rounds. The North Course, also a daily fee course, will give the field one loop on the significantly easier Par 72. After playing a round on each track, the field will be cut to the top 65 and ties.

On the line this week is a purse of $9 million, with the winner earning $1.62 million, if a professional, 500 FedExCup points, entry to the Masters in April, and the 2025 Senty, among other perks.

The forecast suggests manageable breezes and rising temperatures throughout the four rounds.

The field of 156 contains 20 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.


Players to consider for Top 10, Top 20, or Top 40 action:

Sahith Theegala (33/1): California native honed his skills up the coast at Pepperdine and won earlier this season in Napa Valley at the Fortinet Championship.

Adrian Meronk (50/1): Snubbed from the Ryder Cup, the Polish star has not missed a cut since the beginning of October. The winner in Spain in October has added a tenth-place finish and a solo second in Dubai in the last two weeks.

Justin Rose (60/1): The light went on in 2017 with T4, the first of four top-10 paychecks in his next six starts. Making his 14th start, the 2019 champ knows what’s required this week.

Sam Ryder (110/1): Playing in the final group last year, he led or co-led after all three rounds. Posting a final round 75, he cashed T4, his second top 10 in the last three years.

Michael Kim (110/1): Knocked the rust off at Sony before returning to the top 10 at The American Express with T6. Making his eighth start at Torrey Pines, he’s cashed in the previous five.

 

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