Perry’s Farmers Insurance Open Betting Preview & Picks: Adam Scott, Jason Day Stand Out at Difficult Torrey Pines

Perry’s Farmers Insurance Open Betting Preview & Picks: Adam Scott, Jason Day Stand Out at Difficult Torrey Pines article feature image
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Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Scott

For the second week in a row, we had an Aussie make a Sunday charge, only to come up a little short.

Cameron Davis closed out the American Express in third as his final round 64 wasn’t enough to pass up Si Woo Kim or Patrick Cantlay.

Now the attention shifts to probably the most important tournament of this early portion of the calendar, The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

This year’s event takes on added importance because the South Course will also host the U.S. Open in June, giving guys who don’t play here often a chance to get a little familiar before the USGA has its way with the place later in the summer.

The course last held both events in 2008. Tiger Woods won both, so it’s hard to say if this event will foreshadow what’s to come this summer or if it was just Tiger dominating in usual Tiger fashion.

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The Courses

For this event, the first two days will be split over Torrey Pines’ South and North courses with the players then using the South course on the weekend to finish.

The South course is a long and difficult par 72 measuring nearly 7,700 yards. On top of the length, it has narrow fairways and deep rough, making it one of the hardest driving tests on the PGA TOUR.

Length is always an advantage here, but more so if golfers can keep the driver in play. It appears like a total driving test, but players with the ability to recover from the rough and have strong shorter games can play well here.

Defending champ Marc Leishman, who we were lucky enough to hit at 50/1 last year, road a strong approach game and a white-hot putter to his win. He hit less than half the fairways a year ago, including just three on Sunday. But he still found the putting surface and had a great day on the greens.

The players will also see Poa Annua greens for the first time this year after three weeks on Bermuda. So this will be a chance to take a look at a few players who have struggled on the greens over the past couple of tournaments and see if they’re better suited to bounce back on a new surface.

The North course is the easier of the two and plays about 450 yards shorter than the South. A player will generally need to have a pretty solid round here, because the South course usually plays too difficult to make up much ground. It plays about 1-2 strokes easier than the South course on any given year.

The Favorites

Jon Rahm (+700) and Rory McIlroy (+800) headline the event this year. Both have strong histories here. Rahm won in his debut in 2017 and has two other top fives. Rory has finished third and fifth the past two seasons and is fresh off another top three result in Abu Dhabi this past weekend.

Xander Schauffele (+1400) and Tony Finau (+1800) make up that next range in the teens. Schauffele is a guy who it feels like should have better results here. He’s only made one cut in five tries and finished 25th. But the course suits his game and I expect him to figure this place out eventually. I was hoping that bad history might drop him into the +2000s this week, but alas, we’re out of luck.

Finau had another close call last week, and enters a tournament that has fit his eye in the past. He’s finished inside the top 25 in all six tries, including a fourth and sixth twice.

A handful of players close out this range between +2500-2800. Of the group, Hideki Matsuyama at +2800 is where I’d look to start. Matsuyama had a great ball striking week at the Sony, but had his usual putting woes. When the TOUR shifts to Poa greens, though, Hideki becomes more of an average putter, and that’s all he really needs to be to contend. Results are hit and miss for him, but he was third here two years ago.

I’ll be steering clear of the other four in this range. Patrick Reed has had a couple solid finishes the past two seasons, but has struggled with his ball striking to begin 2021. Harris English is just too low for me to play anymore. His best results all come from a hot putting week, and at +2500, I’m not going to try to guess if this will be one of them.

Neither Sungjae Im nor Viktor Hovland have shown much yet at this event in their early careers, so I’ll just lay off at their prices and search further down the board.

The Mid-Tier

I’ll try to find a better number later in the week on Hideki. He’s not a guy people really love to bet so there’s a chance he’ll drift down into this range. But in the meantime, there are two guys I will back.

The Aussies have been good to us early in 2021 and we won with one here a year ago. So I’ll be going back to two more this time.

Jason Day and Adam Scott both sit at +4500 on Bet365 and are worth a look for me. Normally I don’t back a player off an extended layoff like Jason Day, who will be making his first start of the new year, but Day has won this event twice after a similar break and was playing well last fall to finish the year.

Scott doesn’t play here often, but did finish runner up in 2019. He’s off an interesting run in Hawaii. He gained five shots off the tee at Sony and almost seven with approach at the TOC. So both those aspects have shown up, now it’s just about lining them up. The putter is also a concern, but for his career, he’s gained strokes on Poa, so he’s worth a look this week.

The Longshots

With those two Aussies along with a potential Hideki play later in the week, I don’t have room for much else on the card. This also hasn’t been a great spot for the underdogs in recent years. Scott Stallings is the only triple-digit winner that past decade. It’s a strong field that usually produces a strong champion.

I’ll will take a chance down here though on Talor Gooch at 100/1 on FanDuel. Gooch is coming off a good ball striking week at the Amex and was third here two years ago.

The Farmers Insurance Card

  • Jason Day +4500 (.73 units)
  • Adam Scott +4500 (.73 units)
  • Talor Gooch +10000 (.33 units)

Total Stake: 1.79 units

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