GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Farmers Insurance Open | 28th-31st January 2021 | Sky Sports
The PGA Tour stays in California this week for it's regular stop, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Both the North and South course are in rotation with the field playing both tracks before the weekend, then those that make the cut finish the tournament on solely the tougher and longer South course.
Indeed, it is over 500 yards longer and yet still is a par-72, so we're looking for long but accurate bombers, those capable of scoring on long par-4s and par-5s. It's a dream for a ball-striker, though it can also be an all-round test.
Some comparisons can be made to other events in the area – Riviera (Genesis), Pebble Beach (AT&T Pro-Am), notwithstanding Glen Abbey (Canadian), Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo), Copperhead (Valspar), Muirfield Village (Memorial) and TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas).
So, into the picks…
I'm going back to Sungjae Im (28/1 William Hill)
. He failed to deliver at the Sony Open for us, but responded with a T12 in California last week – even leading half-way. Without repeating myself too much, he's a player with a skillset primed to win this tournament. His 2nd at the Masters provides clues into how he may perform on the greens.
After winning the Honda at the start of last year, he's due another one having gone close in a handful of events since. Perhaps fellow countryman Si-woo Kim's win can provide some further motivation and encouragement to get over the line this week.
When Adam Scott (40/1 Betfair)
tees it up, you know he's come here to win. These days, the Aussie enjoys a light schedule with the aim to peak at events suited to his game. It's a surprise to learn that he's only played Torrey Pines twice, a T26 in the 2008 US Open and then a runner-up finish in 2019.
His latest start on Poa Annua greens on the west-coast saw him clinch the 2020 Genesis Open after finishing T7 there a year earlier. That only backs up the fact that he performs well at the same sorts of events, Not to mention that he's one of the best ball-strikers in the field, in terms of length and accuracy off the tee and with approach play.
Gary Woodland (66/1 Betfair)
is another superb player who looks a little too long to ignore. His 2020 was blighted by injury after clinching the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2019. But he claims he's over such issues and a T16 last week would certainly seem so. I'm backing him to build on that result this week as he's another perfectly suited to this test – something we've seen over the years.
Close to winning it in 2014, co-leading until the final hole, 18th in 2016 & 2018, and a career-best of 9th in 2019 when he ranked 6th for SG: T2G. Prior to that major victory, Woodland had shown glimpses at Pebble, finishing 5th there in 2017 as well as nearly delivering at similar Poa tracks such as Bethpage Black, Kapalua and Waialae.
He was in positive strokes-gained numbers for off-the-tee, approach, and putting last week. Let's hope he can keep that up.
Now to some long-shots, starting with Talor Gooch (90/1 Betfair).
The 29-year-old's best finish on the PGA Tour came here in 2019, when he finished T3 and to show it was no fluke, he made the cut last year before finishing just shy of the top-35. He also has a top-10 and top-20 at the Genesis, and a top-15 at the Wells Fargo.
He clearly likes this sort of test and as he comes into the week on the back of a positive outing at the AmEx, he could build on that here. He gained strokes off the tee and on approach, he was just let down by negative putting figures and Torrey Pines is never a putting contest, so he has a chance to outplay these odds.
Similarly, someone who has shown glimpses at both Riviera and Torrey Pines over the past 18 to 24 months is Max Homa (100/1 SkyBet)
. Winner at Quail Hollow in 2019, the Cali-born native could do with another tour victory to keep up with the likes of Victor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. Indeed, last year saw him finish T9 here before a T5 at the Genesis. Homa also has a top-10 and a top-15 at Pebble Beach, so clearly he feels right at home – as he should do – in these parts.
And finally, I'll end with another player who can absolutely rip a golf ball down the fairway, he's certainly going to be one of the longest in this field in Luke List (150/1 William Hill)
. He's another whose putting lets him down the majority of the time, but hopefully that won't have too much of a factor here.
He is in great nick with his long game right now, gaining positive strokes off the tee in seven straight events. It's really quite a surprise to see that he's not won on the PGA Tour yet, perhaps it can happen at Torrey Pines.
His performance at Bethpage Black (solo 6th), similarly to Scotty, provides a bonus into the bomber angle as well as the putting surface, whilst he's another who grew up in Cali. List also has decent finishes at Muirfield Village, Glen Abbey and Quail Hollow, further giving us encouragement to why he could outplay these three-figure odds.
Farmers Insurance Open – Sungjae Im (28/1 William Hill)
Farmers Insurance Open – Adam Scott (40/1 Betfair)
Farmers Insurance Open – Gary Woodland (66/1 Betfair)
Farmers Insurance Open – Talor Gooch (90/1 Betfair)
Farmers Insurance Open – Max Homa (100/1 SkyBet)
Farmers Insurance Open – Luke List (150/1 William Hill)