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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s Farmers Insurance Open betting preview: Major champs to show their class at Torrey Pines

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The PGA Tour season ramps up this week as we head to historic Torrey Pines Golf Course for the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open.

To many, this event marks the true start of the PGA Tour season as it draws big names and a difficult test, which is something golf fans have been craving after three weeks of low scoring events.

The event will be played from Wednesday through Saturday this week for the second consecutive year to avoid going against the NFL conference championship games so golf fans can enjoy both sports.

Torrey Pines Golf Club (South) is a par-72 measuring 7,765 yards. Golfers will play three rounds on the South Course and one round on the North Course.

The South Course is the far more difficult of the two and features Poa Annua greens. The North Course is 7,258 yards and features Bentgrass greens.

The 2023 Farmers Insurance Open field is a full-field event comprised of 156 golfers. The field is very strong and will include Ludvig Aberg, Jason Day, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Min Woo Lee, Justin Thomas and Sahith Theegala. 

We’ve back tested past tournaments at Torrey Pines to see which metrics matter this week.

Past Winners at The Farmers Insurance Open

  • 2023: Max Homa (-13)
  • 2022: Luke List (-15)
  • 2021: Patrick Reed (-14)
  • 2020: Marc Leishman (-15)
  • 2019: Justin Rose (-21)
  • 2018: Jason Day (-10)
  • 2017: Jon Rahm (-13)
  • 2016: Brandt Snedeker (-6)
  • 2015: Jason Day (-9)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Torrey Pines to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Hitting greens will be important due to the difficult around the green areas at Torrey Pines. Strokes Gained: Approach has been the most indicative statistic of top-10 finishers at the course historically.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  1. Sam Ryder (+22.4)
  2. Xander Schauffele (+21.5)
  3. Eric Cole (+20.8)
  4. Chez Reavie (+19.1)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+19.0)

Driving Distance

Torrey Pines is a long course, and distance will absolutely be a major factor. Average driving distance is a far greater factor here than your average TOUR event, while driving accuracy is a lesser factor. We are most definitely looking at a bomber’s track this week.

Driving Distance per round in past 24 rounds:

  1. Min Woo Lee (+22.4)
  2. Cameron Champ (+21.0)
  3. Chris Gotterup (+18.6)
  4. Kevin Yu (+15.4)
  5. Callum Tarren (+14.6) 

Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa)

We typically see a lot of golfers play well in this area year after year. One determining factor in the consistent results is whether or not golfers prefer the Poa out West to other surfaces.

Great Poa putters typically play very well in California.

Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa) in past 24 rounds:

  1. Xander Schauffele (+22.5)
  2. Max Homa (+21.2)
  3. Justin Suh (+20.5)
  4. Peter Malnati (+16.0)
  5. Mackenzie Hughes (+15.5)

Par 4: 450-500 Yards

Torrey Pines has a total of six par 4s between 450 and 500 yards on the South Course. To play well this week, golfers will need to outplay the field on these particular holes.

Total Par 4: 450-500 in past 24 rounds

  1. Xander Schauffele (+15.6)
  2. Beau Hossler (+15.0)
  3. Eric Cole (+14.5)
  4. Patrick Cantlay (+12.8)
  5. Sahith Theegala (+12.5)

Par 5: 550-600 Yards

With all four par 5s at the Torrey Pines South Course measuring between 550 and 600 yards, the long hitters will have a major advantage. The course can play difficult, so it’s an absolute must to take care of the par 5s and make birdies.

Keegan Bradley ranked 5th in this range last year and finished runner-up at 60-1.

Par 5: 550-600 in past 24 rounds:

  1. Garrick Higgo (+11.1)
  2. Lee Hodges (+9.9)
  3. Doug Ghim (+8.6)
  4. Alexander Bjork (+8.1)
  5. S.H. Kim (+8.0)

Course History

Here are the 10 best players in terms of Strokes Gained: Total at Torrey Pines South in the past 24 rounds. 

  1. Tony Finau
  2. Jason Day
  3. Brandt Snedeker
  4. Sungjae Im
  5. Justin Rose
  6. Will Zalatoris
  7. Keegan Bradley
  8. Xander Schauffele
  9. Collin Morikawa
  10. Hidedki Matsuyama

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (28%), Driving Distance (22%), Par 4: 450-500 (16%), Par 5: 550-600 (16%) and SG: Putting POA (18%).

  1. Patrick Cantlay (+1000)
  2. Taylor Pendrith (+8000)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+900)
  4. Max Homa (+1000)
  5. Will Zalatoris (+4500)
  6. Sahith Theegala (+4500)
  7. Eric Cole (+3500)
  8. Ludvig Aberg (+1800)
  9. Chesson Hadley (+13000)
  10. Shane Lowry (+5500)

2024 Farmers Insurance Open Picks

(Listed odds are at the time of writing)

Jason Day +3000 (FanDuel)

There aren’t many courses in the world that Jason Day has played better at than Torrey Pines. He won at the course in both 2015 and 2018 and also has four top-10 finishes at the course. In his past 24 rounds, Day ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Total at the course.

Day has had a solid start to his season finishing 10th at The Sentry and then 34th in a birdie fest at the American Express. The Australian has come to Torrey Pines and contended in far worse form than he is at the moment and got into contention despite of that fact. 

Putting on the bumpy and fast West Coast POA will be a key this week. Day has putt the ball extremely well at Torrey, including last year where he finished 7th and gained 5.8 strokes putting. In 2022, he finished 3rd and gained 3.9 strokes putting.

Day is currently enjoying one of the longest stretches of good health and consistent play in the past five years or so and is one of the players to beat this week in a historic event. 

Sahith Theegala +4500 (DraftKings)

Sahith Theegala will undoubtedly be a popular bet this week and for good reason. The former Pepperdine star grew up playing on west coast POA and has been fantastic on the west coast in general throughout his career. 

Theegala won the Fortinet Championship in California in the fall similar to how Max Homa won it prior to conquering Torrey Pines. Last year, Theegala finished 4th at the Farmers Insurance Open and was in contention for most of the round on Sunday. He also has plenty of other strong finishes out west including a 3rd at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and a 6th at the Genesis Invitational.

The 26-year-old opened his season with a 2nd place finish at the Sentry prior to missing the cut at the Sony. Theegala has shown consistently that he will show up and play his best at the Tour stops that he is best suited for.

Hideki Matsuyama +6500 (FanDuel)

In an event where a lot of the value on the betting board has seemingly dissipated, the odds for Hideki Matsuyama have drifted to a place where I feel it’s worth taking the chance on the Japanese star. It’s been a rough year for Matsuyama, who’s struggled to consistently play well and has dealt with a nagging neck injury.

The 30-year-old has had some success at Torrey Pines throughout his career and finished third at the course in 2019 and 12th in 2018. He was also able to finish 9th last season despite being in mediocre form, similar to the way he’s playing now. 

The 30th place in his most recent start at the Sony wasn’t extremely impressive, but Matsuyama did gain strokes across the board. He gained 1.7 strokes on approach and 1.2 off the tee, which is encouraging sign.

I’m not sure if we get peak ‘Deki this week, but if we do, he can beat anyone in the field.

Patrick Rodgers +8000 (BetMGM)

Thus far, 2024 has been the year of the Cinderella story. The winners have been Chris Kirk (150-1), Grayson Murray (400-1) and Nick Dunlap (300-1). In addition to the long odds, each of the three players have amazing stories such as Kirk and Murray’s recoveries from personal demons or Dunlap’s amazing feat of becoming the first amateur to win since Phil Mickelson in 1991. 

Patrick Rodgers winning at Torrey Pines would be another remarkable story. The Stanford graduate was once regarded as a can’t miss prospect and even broke Tiger Woods’ win record as a Cardinal. He won the Hogan award and was the top ranked amateur player in the world for 16 weeks.

Things haven’t gone according to plan for the former prodigy, who’s now 31 years old. Rodgers is yet to win on the PGA Tour and has been largely disappointing since turning professional. However, some of Rodgers’ best golf has been played at Torrey Pines. He has finished 4th here in 2017 and 9th in 2020. He’s also showed some encouraging signs of late. He narrowly lost to Akshay Bhatia at the Barracuda Championship late last summer and began his 2024 campaign with back-to-back strong performances, finishing 14th and 24th at the Sentry and Sony Open.

We’ve seen some amazing stories this season, but Patrick Rodgers returning to glory in the state where he was once considered golf’s next big thing may surpass them all.

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19th Hole

Report: Greg Norman spotted following a surprise grouping on Thursday at the Masters

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Greg Norman is at this week’s Masters tournament but found himself in a situation where he had to buy himself a ticket to enter the grounds.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Norman explained why he was at Augusta National:

“I’m here because we have 13 players that won 10 Masters between them. So I’m here just to support them, do the best I can to show them, ‘Hey, you know, the boss is here rooting for you.’ ”

So who was Norman following during the opening round of this year’s Masters? Well the answer may surprise you.

Per Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig, Norman was spotted following the LIV-less grouping of Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

We’ll find out a little later today whether Norman will make his third appearance in as many days at this year’s opening major.

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19th Hole

Collin Morikawa makes surprising late putter switch at Masters

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Collin Morikawa has had plenty of success with a blade in his hands over the course of his young career, but after a lean spell on the greens lately, it appears that the 27-year-old is ready to try something new.

The California-native began the year with his TaylorMade TP Soto before switching to a Logan Olson proto last month. Now at this week’s Masters, Morikawa has been spotted with a Spider Tour X, the same flatstick that Scottie Scheffler will be using at Augusta.

The move would represent a big change, but it has been a very frustrating year on the greens for Morikawa, who will hope the TaylorMade mallet can offer him a similar upturn in fortune to that of Scheffler. In 2024, Morikawa ranks 164th for Strokes Gained: Putting, and 157th for Total Putting.

We’ll keep an eye whether Morikawa puts the mallet into action on day one of the Masters.

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19th Hole

Dave Portnoy places monstrous outright bet for the 2024 Masters

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Fresh off of winning $2.76 million on UConn’s victory over Purdue on Monday night, Barstool Sports’ founder Dave Portnoy has just placed a massive bet for this year’s Masters.

Tweeting on Wednesday morning, Portnoy revealed that he has placed $300,000 on Scottie Scheffler to win this year’s Masters at odds of +450.

Should he win, that’d be a total payout of $1.65 million.

Scheffler is one of the shortest priced favorites of recent times at the Masters, and is looking for what would be his third win in his last four events.

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