Torrey Pines always draws the best in the game, and this week’s Farmers Insurance Open is no exception. After last week’s runaway in the desert, expect scores to return to more normal levels this week on the pair of par-72′s in La Jolla, California. Since the top players play this event every year, we have plenty of history to go on as we make our fantasy golf picks for this week, and we can expect a star-studded leaderboard coming down the stretch on Sunday.
If you are new to the fantasy golf game or are just looking for a great way to have a routing interest as you enjoy the PGA Tour this season, check out our fantasy golf overview and group invite which ran at the beginning of the year on FantasyCPR. Our group is playing over at Yahoo! Fantasy Golf and is free to join to show off your golf knowledge. Be ready for some stiff competition, though, our group is 48 people deep and getting a top ten finish is no easy task.
Last week, Onalaska Calloways overcame the rest of the field and put up 199 points on his way to the group victory. He didn’t have Patrick Reed the runaway winner, but he did have both Ryan Palmer (who finished second) and Zach Johnson (who finished third). Onalaska is our first player to log multiple top-3 finishes and is currently second overall behind Buffalorange.
This week it’s important to be strategic with your bench plays since the tournament is held on two courses and one produces significantly lower scores than the other. Torrey South is the traditionally difficult and challenging course which played slightly above par last year. On the other hand, Torrey North was almost two full strokes easier thanks mostly to attackable par-5′s. One strategy which I’ll be using is to select players on opposite sides of the draw so for the first two rounds your starting foursome is playing entirely on Torrey North. After the cut, the final two rounds are all on the more difficult course, so at that point the draw matters much less. It isn’t necessarily something that should drive your selections, but it’s something to definitely keep in mind. My starting foursome is on Torrey North in round one, and I’m planning on switching all four out for round two. Here they are:
Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker won this event two years ago has finished as runner-up twice and has two other top ten finishes. He has especially taken advantage of Torrey North where he’ll get things started this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s your round one leader and stays near the front of the pack through the rest of the weekend.
Tiger Woods: Tiger won this event last year and dominates this course. Conserving Tiger starts is always tricky (since you can only start each player 10 times per year), but this isn’t a venue where you can afford not to have him. He’s won the tournament at Torrey seven times and also has a US Open Championship that he won here with five other top ten finishes. Tiger starts on the South course, so I’ll go Sneds in round one and then get Tiger in for round 2.
Hunter Mahan: Making his 2014 debut, Mahan typically shows well at Torrey with four top-15 finishes in his last five visits. He left last year with a t15 after t6 in 2012.
Graham DeLaet: The Canadian comes in playing well with a pair of top ten’s in his two starts in the Fall Series. This will be his first start on Tour this calendar year as he returns to Torrey Pines where he finished in the top ten last year at the Farmers.
Brian Stuard: Stuard has three straight top-six finishes and has been in the top 15 in four of his last five starts. He made the cut last year at this event finishing t39 after missing the cut in his only other appearance back in 2010. Stuard is a bit of a risk since he doesn’t have the stellar track record of my other options, but he’s playing well enough that I think he’s worth the pick based on his current form.
Bill Haas: Haas has been in the top 25 in all four of his starts this season (including the Fall Series which now officially starts the PGA calendar) and has been in the top 30 in 10 of his last 11 appearances on Tour. Last week, he picked up a t6 at the Humana and has been in the top ten in his last three trips to Torrey Pines. He starts on the South Course which is why he’s fourth on this list, not because he’s my fourth-best selection.
Brendon Todd: Todd is quickly emerging as an option after a nice start to the season after playing extremely well on the Web.com Tour last year. He finished t6 last week at the Humana giving him a top-20 finish in four of his last five PGA Tour starts. He hasn’t had a lot of success in the past at Torry with a missed cut in 2008 and a MDF in 2012, but this is another pick based on current form more than past history.
Jimmy Walker: Walker has a nice blend of both current form and past history at this venue coming in off a win at Waialae in the Sony Open. He also won the Frys.com Open in the Fall Series and has been in the top 25 in five of his six events on tour this season. In the past two years at Torrey Pines, Walker has finished t8 and t4 making him a really nice option as he tees it up with Tiger on the South Course in round 1.