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27 Jan 2018 by Sam Vickers

Farmers Insurance Open – Round Three 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, 69⁰F (20.5⁰C), winds from the NW, up to 9mph

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

FIVE PLAYERS IN FOCUS

  • Player prediction current position:
    • Jon Rahm - 2
    • Tony Finau – T3
    • Jason Day – T6
    • Phil Mickelson – T9
    • Harris English – T9
    • Justin Rose – T14
    • Patrick Reed – T23
    • Brandt Snedeker – T65
    • Tiger Woods – T65

JON RAHM

  • Rahm was predicted as the firm favourite at the beginning of the week and so far is living up to his forecast. If Rahm is to triumph this week, he will overtake world number one Dustin Johnson to the mantel of best player in the world in just his 44th start.
  • Rahm’s advantage over the field is his driving ability where he currently ranks 3rd in SG: off-the-tee. Furthermore, he also ranks 3rd this week in SG: around-the-green, gaining 2.029 strokes on his season average, showing the confidence he has in his all-round game.
  • Surprisingly, Rahm is struggling slightly with his approach-play, ranking 102nd this week in SG: approach-to-green compared to his 16th position for the season.

Predicted Performance
If Rahm continues driving the ball the way he has over the past 18 months, it is difficult to envisage how anyone can beat him over the South course this weekend. His approach game may need to improve slightly in order to take some pressure off the short game and if it does, don’t be surprised to see him win by multiple shots.

LUKE LIST

  • List moved his way into T3 on Friday at -9 after a round of the day 66 on the South. Starting his fifth year on the tour, List is yet to claim a victory and for a player of his calibre, it is perhaps surprising he hasn’t come closer more often.
  • List leads the way in SG: total, demonstrating his all-round play is firing on all cylinders. Additionally, he has hit 68% of fairways (ranked T4) this week while averaging 306 yards from the tee, a recipe for success on the South.
  • List’s putting is the major factor that has propelled him to within two of the lead where he ranks 4th in SG for the week, gaining 3.336 strokes on his season average.

Predicted Performance
If List maintains his current levels of putting, he has a very real chance of claiming his first tour victory. However, judging from his season performance on the greens, this week so far is as good as he can putt and to maintain this for another two days is less likely. With this in mind, expect a top five finish.

MARC LEISHMAN

  • The Australian has recorded two runner-up finishes (2010 & 2014) in this tournament as well as a T20 result last year. Leishman picked up two tour wins last year having not won for five years and has become a serious player to watch since moving up to 13th in the world rankings.
  • Leishman is positioned T23 after the opening two rounds and is in a strong position to make a charge up the leaderboard. His season to date is yet to get going with some average results, but having won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2017, it shows he likes the early season big events.
  • He ranks this week 17th SG: approach-the-green and 16th SG: tee-to-green, significant improvements on his season stats, demonstrating he is starting to show some form in his game.

Predicted Performance
Leishman has the game and past experience to perform well on this layout and is showing signs of the form that took him to two tour victories last year. Expect him to keep moving in the right direction but a lack of early season form would suggest a top 15 finish as a good week.

LUCAS GLOVER

  • With good weather over the weekend, the South course will start to firm up and any score under par will start to move a player up the leaderboard. Glover currently sits in T47 position after a 70 on the South during Fridays play.
  • Glover ranks 10th in SG: off-the-tee and 15th SG: tee-to-green, key performance stats for success around the South. Overall, he ranks 5th SG: tee-to-green for this season so presume his play will improve over the weekend.
  • Glover ranks 15th in SG: around-the-green from the first two days play and is leading the tour in this category this season. However, his season rank of 200th SG: putting suggests why a players of this calibre rarely gets himself into contention.

Predicted Performance
Anticipate Glover to move up the leaderboard over the weekend without ever contending due to his performance on the greens. His tee-to-green game and short-game will suit the South and a top 15 finish, or even a back-door top 10 a distinct possibility.

TIGER WOODS

  • Woods' long awaited return must be regarded as a success after making the cut on the mark at one under par after grinding out a birdie on the final hole to do so.
  • Woods has struggled predominantly with his approach play, languishing 105th SG: approach-the-green. Although his driving could be better, he is still giving himself plenty of good opportunities from the tee, ranking 30th SG.
  • One significant positive for Woods is his short-game where he is gaining 0.810 shots over the field on SG: around-the-green. This has been a key area of his game that has come under scrutiny in recent years but is something he has proved is still a strength.

Predicted Performance
The more competitive rounds that Tiger gets under his belt pain free then naturally the better he’ll get. If he can figure out his approach play then the rest of his game is in a strong enough position to move further under par. As mentioned, any score under par this weekend on the South will move a player up the leaderboard and as he is only three shots off the top 25, he could well move into that bracket.

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