Torrey Pines GC in La Jolla, CA is host to the Farmers Insurance Open this weekend, teeing off at 6:00 am EST on Thursday. The South course at Torrey Pines presents unique challenges, and the winner this weekend is going to be someone who can meet those challenges head on with a solid all-around game.
If you know one thing about the South course, it is that it’s LONG. Players who succeed here need to have length and accuracy off the tee, and an ability to control their irons with long approaches into protected greens at varying elevations. GIR is no easy task here.
One way to make sure you are looking at options who can succeed here is pretty obvious – past winners is a good place to start. So here you have Scott Stallings ($6,400), last year’s champ, who has not played all that well of late, coming off a MC last weekend and a T64 at the Humana the weekend before. But he won here last year with a 68 on Sunday, impressive on a course that yielded many more rounds over par than under. He also showed he can take advantage of the opportunities presented on the North course, as he carded a 67 in his one round there last year.
But the only players you are going to feel real comfortable with this weekend are much more expensive than Stallings, because they have the type of skill that makes taming a course like Torrey Pines seem do-able. Guys like Jordan Spieth ($15,200), Jason Day ($14,700), and Jimmy Walker ($14,000). You know as well as I do how hard it is to fit those salaries into your roster, even though all three of them could well end up being worth it. For whatever it is worth, of the three, Day has the best track record here. Spieth’s best finish here was T19, and while Walker had top-10’s in 2012 and 2013, Day finished T2 here just a year ago, and has another top-10 on his resume as well.
Just one step down in price range, you could go with a player like Graham DeLaet ($10,200), fresh off a T7 at the Phoenix Open, and he fits the “past success” criteria with top-10 finishes each of the past two years in the Farmers. He’s got the control in his game to avoid the big flameout, but will be hard pressed to earn many fantasy points with holes under par, so you’ll definitely be rooting for that finishing spot bonus.
Another grand cheaper, and with maybe an even better chance of winning, you will find Marc Leishman ($9,000). He finished only T37 last time we saw him, at the Sony Open, but he has played the Farmers six times, and has made five cuts and finished inside the top-10 three times.
Someone who could be a popular choice at his price is Keegan Bradley ($8,300), who won’t break the bank but does give you access to some legitimate upside. He finished last weekend with a T17, despite a second round 73. And what that means is an ability to score points with holes under par, which he did with 17 birdies in Scottsdale.
And if you want a super cheap option who isn’t the defending champ, you could do worse than taking a look at Angel Cabrera ($6,200) and Brian Stuard ($6,100). Both of these two finished inside the top-15 last weekend, which bodes well for their performance going forward – we’ve seen Stuard have hot streaks before, so if this is the start of one, his price tag could be a lot higher a month from now. And as for Cabrera, at this point in his career, we know the talent is there to compete with anyone, but it’s just a matter of how consistently he can perform at the top of his game. If he’s feeling good right now, you might as well take advantage.