AT A GLANCE
When? Thursday Jan 25 - Sunday Jan 28, 2018
Where? Torrey Pines Golf Couse (North and South), San Diego, California
Format? 72-hole stroke play – one round each on North & South course over Thursday and Friday, weekend rounds on the South
Course Type? Parkland
Course Yardage? North: 7,258; par 72 / South: 7,698; par 72
Weather? Mostly sunny and cool, 64⁰F (18⁰C), winds from the NNW 7mph, gusting 12mph
What channel is it on? Sky Sports Golf or Golf Channel
Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the tournament online via ‘Sky Go’ or Golf Channel subscribers can stream the tournament online via ‘Golf Channel Digital’
Are tickets still available? farmersinsuranceopen.com
Important factors? In previous years, low scoring is expected on the easier North, however due to new greens and course alterations, the shorter course has become a very challenging test in itself.
FIVE PLAYERS IN FOCUS
- Finau was predicted as a player who would contend this week and after the first day's play, he sits top of the leaderboard after a nine birdie, seven under par round on the North.
- Finau overpowered the shorter course with his length, averaging 330 yards from the tee and leaving much shorter shots into the firmer greens, something that Friday players on the North may try and take advantage of.
- Finau’s putter was also extremely hot, ranking third for the day's play and averaging 1.417 putts per green, bettering his season average by 0.325.
If the promising young American can maintain his form on the greens, the experience from being in contention here last year coupled with his overriding distance will make him a difficult man to beat over the weekend.
- Rose sits in T15 position after an opening round 69 on the North Course. His last six worldwide starts have yielded; W, W, T4, T5, T10 and T22, demonstrating he is hitting the peak of his career.
- Rose placed T4 here last year on his first start in the tournament. A third round 73 left him having to make up too much ground on Sunday but the experience and current form will stand him in a good position to contend this year.
- Rose averaged 310 yards from the tee yesterday and hit 15/18 greens in regulation. For a player as accurate as him, this will set up many birdie opportunities on the longer South today.
Rose didn’t birdie any of the four par fives on Thursday but if he continues driving the ball the way he is and he scores on the par fours well, expect him to better his first day's score on the South.
- Reed had his first winless season on the PGA Tour since graduating last year and for a player of his calibre, another win has to be on the horizon.
- Reed sits T4 after Thursday's round on the South in which he was paired with Tiger, something that could be offering the extra inspiration and focus a player such as Reed thrives on.
- Reed ranks 9th in SG: approach-the-green and 11th SG: around-the-green for the season, two key areas that will help move him into contention. His all-round game was on-point yesterday, ranking 3rd in SG: total - further showing he enjoys the hype being surrounded by Tiger.
Reed is one of those players that the more under pressure he is, the better he performs. Playing with Tiger, winning the Ryder Cup and also a WGC proves this. If he maintains the form with the putter, the rest of his game is in the position that saw him win four seasons in a row.
- Mickelson has won at Torrey on three occasions (1993, 2000 and 2001) and been runner-up twice (1996 and 2011) so certainly has the experience to claim his first PGA Tour victory since 2013.
- Mickelson opened with a solid 70 on the North having only successfully hit 6/14 fairways. Additionally, he ranks 196th in SG: off-the-tee, demonstrating he is struggling with his driving and keeping the ball consistently in play.
- Nevertheless, he ranks fourth in SG: approach-the-green so his iron play is as strong as ever. What is more, with the South course playing more like a major layout and the weather predicted to get warmer over the days, a firmer, faster course will suit the American.
If Mickelson can find a way to get the ball in play a little better, the rest of his game is in great shape to shoot a very low score. Expect him to move up the leaderboard today heading into the weekend with a chance on Sunday.
- English lost in a four-man play-off here in 2015, showing that his game sets up perfectly around Torrey. As a long and high ball hitter, he will have an advantage in the firmer conditions, especially around the North today.
- English started the 2017-18 season with five straight missed-cuts but finished in T11 last week with a closing round 66, showing his form is moving in the right direction. An opening round 70 on the South leaves him in T35 position.
- English’s bad season form has been down to his poor tee-to-green game thus far, ranking 121st in strokes gained. However, he ranked 32nd in SG: tee-to-green and T16 in SG: total, showing he is trending on the right path.
If English maintains the tee-to-green game seen in recent rounds, he could post a low number around the North that should suit his game. However, expect him to fall behind the leaders over the weekend.