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28 Jan 2018 by Sam Vickers

Farmers Insurance Open – Round Four Preview

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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

Purse? $6.9million

Course Type? Parkland

Course Yardage? South: 7,698; par 72

Weather? Clear and sunny, 79⁰F (26⁰C), winds from the NNE, up to 14mph

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Golf or Golf Channel and CBS

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’ and CBSsports.com

Are tickets still available? farmersinsuranceopen.com

FIVE PLAYERS IN FOCUS

ALEX NOREN

  • The highly impressive Swede is relatively unknown to the American audience and they will perhaps be surprised to see his name atop the leaderboard at minus 11. However, to the European fans this will be no surprise and it will be even less unexpected if he goes on to claim the trophy.
  • Noren’s high ball flight serves as an advantage hitting into the firm greens and as a result he ranks 5th in SG: approach-to-green. He ranks 4th SG: tee-to-green showing the long-game prowess that took him to five victories on the European Tour in the space of 10 months which included a win at the Scottish Open in firm and windy conditions and the tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.
  • Nevertheless, Noren is languishing 119th in SG: around-the-green and with Sunday conditions making it more likely to miss greens in regulation, this is an area of his game that will need to be better.

Predicted Performance
The Swede has all the attributes and experience to win his first PGA Tour event and the conditions may even help him to do so. Expect him to stay in contention throughout Sunday and do not be surprised if he continues to lead from the front, breaking away from the pack.

JUSTIN ROSE

  • Rose moved up to T5 after a highly impressive bogey free 69 Saturday and is just three strokes behind the lead.
  • Rose hasn’t particularly shone in any key area of his game but has been consistently solid in all departments, something that demonstrates his level of play in recent months by being able to move him into contention without firing on all cylinders.
  • Notably, Rose is ranked 4th in driving distance this week, a significant advantage around the South and especially for someone as accurate as Rose. Furthermore, he is ranked 6th in SG: total showing the quality of his all-round game this week.

Predicted Performance
Having closed out two worldwide tournaments since October and two additional top fives, the Englishman has the recent memories of how to get the job done. His all-round game is perfect for the test of the South course that will play very challenging in stronger winds and firmer conditions on Sunday, perhaps more like a US Open, something that Rose’s game is suited for.

J.B. HOLMES

  • Holmes shot a round of the day 65 to charge up the leaderboard into T3 and sits just two strokes off the lead. Holmes has a strong record around Torrey having finished T6 in 2016 and losing out in a play-off the year previous.
  • Holmes’ advantage over the field is his distance off the tee around the long South; however, it is his putting that has moved him into contention. He currently ranks 1st in SG: putting, gaining a mammoth 6.557 strokes over the field which is even more impressive as he is ranked 172nd in SG: putting for the season.
  • Holmes has had to putt to the level he has as his short-game has been poor so far, ranking T112 in SG: around-the-green.

Predicted Performance
With stronger winds predicted for the final round and conditions firming up further, scrambling will be a necessity for the winner and unless Holmes continues putting ‘lights out’ it is difficult to see him having enough to be victorious. Expect him to stay in contention heading into the back-nine though.

GARY WOODLAND

  • Woodland moved into T5 with a 66 Saturday and having recorded two top 20 finishes in the previous two years here, it suggests Torrey suits his game well.
  • Woodland leads the field in SG: total with impressive tee-to-green and putting statistics, something that has been strong for him this season, ranking 14th SG: total and 11th SG: putting.
  • Like others in the field, Woodland is struggling around the greens, ranking 107th this week and 155th for the season, an area that will need to be stronger on Sunday.

Predicted Performance
Woodland has not won on tour since 2013 but has the game to do so more regularly. His all-round game has been strong all-season and a 64 in the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii a few weeks ago suggests he is ready to win again. Expect him to keep himself in contention heading into the back-nine.

JOHN RAHM

  • Perhaps surprising to all watching, Rahm took himself right out of contention with a double-bogey on his final hole and finished three over for the day leaving him in T12, four strokes off the lead.
  • However, four strokes around this golf course on Sunday can be caught over the first nine holes and taking into account the opportunity of becoming world number one as well as less pressure of being in the final group, he can go out and attack from the outset.
  • Rahm ranks 3rd in SG: off-the-tee but as was the concern from the previous rounds, his approach play is preventing him from scoring better, ranking 133rd in SG: approach-the-green.

Predicted Performance
The Spaniard cannot be counted out of this just yet with all things considered and if he can figure out his approach game for Sunday, a low round in tough conditions could still yield the win. Expect him to get himself back in contention at some point during the final round.

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