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25 Jan 2018 by Sam Vickers

Farmers Insurance Open – Round One 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? North: 7,258; par 72 / South: 7,698; par 72

Weather? Partly sunny and cooler – 64⁰/50⁰F (18⁰/10⁰C), winds from the NW 7mph, gusting 12mph

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

Where can I stream the tournament? 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

FIVE PLAYERS IN FOCUS

JOHN RAHM

  • Currently ranked number two in the world, Rahm comes to Torrey Pines as defending champion having claimed his second PGA Tour win at last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge during a four-hole play-off.
  • The Spaniard only earnt his full PGA Tour card at the end of 2016 and has quickly become one of the world’s best players and could very realistically claim the number one spot in the coming weeks. Earning back-to-back victories would be no surprise.
  • Rahm currently ranks second in strokes-gained driving and birdie average, two key performance stats that will set-up perfectly to the long and demanding course in cooler conditions.

Predicted Performance
Rahm opens his tournament on the much longer and difficult South Course and with cooler conditions predicted; his long and accurate driving skills could make him the first round low scorer on the South.

BRANDT SNEDEKER

  • It’s fair to say Snedeker has a liking for this course with two victories (2012 & 2016) and two runner-up placings (2012 & 2013).
  • The American currently ranks 1st in scrambling, 18th in strokes-gained putting and 17th in driving accuracy, all key performance areas to put himself in contention once again.
  • Snedeker only returned to competitive golf at the back end of 2017 after suffering an injury to his sternum which resulted in five months off from golf. Although last week resulted in a MC in only his third start since June 2017, his final round 67 suggests he is rediscovering some form.

Predicted Performance
Brandt opens up his week on the South, a course that will play especially long as a shorter-hitter. Expect a solid opening round nearby par and for him to take advantage on the shorter North on Friday.

JASON DAY

  • Former world number one Jason Day has slipped down the rankings to 14th over the past year due to a downturn in form on the course coinciding with the illness of his mother and a reoccurring back-injury. However, since the all-clear has been given, golf is the main focus again and the form is slowly returning.
  • Day will be making his first PGA Tour start of 2018 at a place that has yielded one victory (2015) and a runner-up (2014). Having recorded two top-15 finishes at the end of 2017, he’ll be entering the New Year with the confidence and focus of regaining that number one position.
  • Day, renowned for his length and recovery play, currently ranks 11th in driving accuracy, something that may be a result of a swing change to help protect his back. Additionally, he ranks 15th in birdie average, a combination-factored with his other attributes - that sets-up perfectly around Torrey Pines.

Predicted Performance
Expect to see a 2018 charge back up the world rankings from Day and what better place to start than one of his favourite and most successful courses. Anticipate the Australian to be right in contention after Friday’s play.

TONY FINAU

  • Finau has been making his rise up the world rankings since gaining his PGA Tour status in 2015, and currently ranks inside the world’s top 50 (44th). His ‘rags to riches’ background and aggressive play have gained many fans.
  • With the South Course being the longest regular tour layout, naturally long hitters have the advantage. Finau currently ranks second in driving distance, averaging 329.8 yards from the tee and ranks ninth in strokes-gained tee-to-green.
  • Having secured his first tour win in 2016, he came close to his second at the first tournament of the 2017-18 season, finishing runner-up. Furthermore, he placed T4 here last year after opening with a one over-par 73.

Predicted Performance
Early season and course form suggests Finau is close to claiming his second tour win. His distance is always an advantage but perhaps none-more so than around the South Course, something that is likely to see him in contention come Sunday.

TIGER WOODS

  • The man that still attracts more fans to the sport than any other player makes his long awaited PGA Tour return at a tournament he has won a record eight times. Regardless of form, fans and fellow players will be hoping he can get through the week healthy and build a full-schedule from here.
  • Tiger on the other hand only has one mind-set and that is competing to win. His last PGA Tour start was in this tournament 12 months ago which resulted in a MC. Since then he has undergone surgery to fuse his spine and essentially not played any golf until his own event, last month’s Hero World Challenge.
  • Perhaps to everyone’s surprise, Wood’s completed all-four rounds without any signs of pain and finished in T9 at eight under par. With that result, there was genuine evidence of a player making his full comeback long term with many glimpses of the Tiger of old.

Predicted Performance
Nobody in the game knows this place better and providing he has been able to practise regularly and healthily since his last outing, making the cut and recording a top 25 finish is a very real prospect.

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