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Golfbet Insider: Farmers Insurance Open

7 Min Read

Golfbet News


    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    Wednesday! Wednesday! Wednesday!

    First and foremost, if it slipped by your goalie, the Farmers Insurance Open will start on Wednesday, Jan. 24. This is how it’s scheduled. OK, so there might be a delay to start the proceedings officially because the marine layer is undefeated, but balls are promised to be in the air a day earlier than usual. The tournament is scheduled to conclude on Saturday. We’ll get back on the familiar Thursday-Sunday planning with next week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is the second of the eight Signature Events of 2024.

    Just like last week’s The American Express, multiple courses host this week’s Farmers. The big difference, however, is that the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines Golf Course demand strategically timed investments.

    For live betting, consider your short list of outrights to target among those who get off to a hot start in the first round on the much more challenging South Course. (The 78 who start on the South will play the North in the second round, and vice versa, so there’s leverage to be exploited. Houses know this, of course, so you should as well.) While rain in advance of the tournament should yield lower scores than usual, the South was the most difficult course among all non-majors in two of the last three seasons. It also hosted the 2021 U.S. Open for which, to no one’s surprise, it averaged more than one stroke higher than it did for the Farmers a few months prior.

    PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf gamers always must capitalize on the North. You get a total of eight starts in the first two rounds, so make sure that each of your six cycle through the North. This leaves three combinations across two rounds: 4x2, 3x3 and 2x4. My lineup consists of the top six in my Power Rankings, and it just so happens to fit the 2x4 setup.


    Michael Kim (+320 = Top 20) … The pride of Torrey Pines High School is in his eighth appearance at the Farmers. It’s the tournament at which he made his first-ever start as a professional on the PGA TOUR. He’s cashed seven times, the highlight a T23 in 2018 (when he sat T3 entering the finale), and he’s signed for scores as low as 68 and as high as 83 in a combined 24 rounds. Those ends of the spectrum both happened to be on the South Course.

    “This tournament is obviously really special for me,” Kim said on Tuesday in his meeting with the media. “Torrey Pines is where I grew up playing.”

    “I'm always excited to come back to this event and it's almost a dream come true,” he added. “Dream is to actually win the thing.”

    Michael Kim reflects on his first start at Torrey Pines

    He also acknowledged that he’s competed in the tournament in all conditions, so nothing will surprise him. Sometimes the home game is a distraction but the 30-year-old is grizzled thanks in no small part to a few years of lost form after capturing his lone TOUR title at the John Deere Classic in 2018.

    “It has been a pretty big rollercoaster ride,” he said. “When you show up to – when you grow up hoping to someday play in the event, you don't really – you only think about the good things that might happen, you don't necessarily think about all the bad things that might happen.

    “During those ups and downs I feel like I've grown a lot as a person and as a golfer. Surely much more knowledgeable about my mental game, my full swing and all that. Hopefully, I can use those ups and downs to further my career starting now.”

    My take: Not to have buried the lede here but his perspective must be tagged with the fact that he’s fresh off a T6 at The American Express where he raced home in bogey-free, 7-under 65. Take it back to the World Wide Technology Championship in early November and he’s strung together red numbers in his last 12 rounds across five different courses.

    The timing of his consistency and tenor of his comments easily support this prop. Torrey Pines can be a bomb-and-gouge experience for first-timers but they don’t have the pulse of the souls of the greens like the local product.

    Odds were sourced on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 6:15 p.m. ET. For live odds, visit BetMGM.


    Ludvig Åberg (+100 = Top 20) … No, it’s not sexy but it’s worth retreating into a more sensible expectation as he continues to blaze his trail. Every young star plateaus for any number of reasons. Motivations change, and they can change rapidly. Because it can be a lot to manage, it must be respected. His T47-T30 to open 2024 is too small of a sample size to attach any concern or long-range prognosis, and there’s always a reasonable argument to lean into firepower like his for something better – he’s +200 for a Top 10, for example – but I’d like to see more in response from him after summiting The RSM Classic two months ago.


    NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.

    Editor’s note: Adrian Meronk withdrew Wednesday, Jan 24, before the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open and was replaced in the field by Erik Barnes.

    • PARLAY: Hideki Matsuyama, Adrian Meronk and Shane Lowry (+260 = All to Make the Cut)
    • PARLAY: Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele (+275 = Both to Finish in the Top 10)
    • Akshay Bhatia (+300 = Top 20)
    • Bronson Burgoon (+350 = Top 40)
    • Harris English (+188 = Top 20)
    • Will Gordon (+200 = Top 40)
    • Aaron Rai (+275 = Top English)
    • Sam Ryder (+350 = Top 20)
    • Alex Smalley (+125 = Top 40)
    • Jhonattan Vegas (+240 = Top 40)


    Wilson Furr … It was a dubious debut for the 25-year-old rookie last week. He called it quits before his third round of The American Express. During his second-round 77 on the Stadium Course, it was reported on Golf Channel that he was dealing with a sore back. The visual matched as he wasn’t hiding discomfort. He’d be the perfect fade in a 3-ball at Torrey Pines as the chillier air probably won’t help.


    Nick Dunlap … The winner of The American Express opted out on Monday. He’s only a sophomore at the University of Alabama and he just turned 20, so it makes sense that he’d pause and review the implications of his decision to turn professional sooner than later.

    Justin Thomas … Once the dust settled after his three-way T3 at PGA WEST, he rose to third in the Aon Swing 5, but if he doesn’t remain inside that bubble at the conclusion of the Farmers, he’s also 23rd in the Official World Golf Ranking, so he’ll qualify for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, anyway. The top 30 after action this weekend gain entry.

    Justin Thomas drains 15-foot birdie putt on 72nd hole at The American Express

    Tyler McCumber … He had our attention at the Sony Open in Hawaii where he ended an 18-month hiatus to recover from surgeries to repair torn labrums in his left shoulder and left hip. He missed the cut at Waialae, Country Club and then walked off the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST during his third round of The American Express. An explanation wasn’t released. He still has 14 starts on his Major Medical Extension, which promises considerable playing time to consider in long-term formats, but now he’s back in a holding pattern until further notice.


    Maverick McNealy … Because he’s so close to fulfilling the terms of his Major Medical Extension, he remains a focal point whenever he pegs it. He missed the cut at PGA WEST, so he’s down to eight starts to find 15.986 FedExCup points. Just like last week, that would require a solo 40th-place finish (worth 16 points) at Torrey Pines. If he fulfills the terms of his medical before THE PLAYERS Championship, he’ll earn an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s flagship event.

    The PGA TOUR is committed to protecting our fans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the National Council on Problem Gambling operates a confidential toll-free hotline that you can reach by phone or text at 1-800-522-4700.

    Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

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