• Steve Kennedy

Tony Finau - That's the Headline

The California swing on the PGA Tour continues with the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open hosted at the legendary Torrey Pines in San Diego , the site of a wounded Tiger Woods' 18 hole Monday playoff against Rocco Mediate to win the 2008 US Open. It was also the site of Jon Rahm's inaugural major win at last years US Open.


(Tiger Woods celebrates an 18 Hole Monday playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 US Open)


The event has been a regular on Tour since the 1950's and has been played at Torrey Pines since 1968. A prestigious course like this always attracts an excellent field and this week is no different. Six of the world's top 10 will tee it up on Wednesday including Jon Rahm , Bryson DeChambeau , Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas as well as defending champion Patrick Reed.


The event kicks off on Wednesday morning to avoid a clash with the NFL Conference Playoffs on Sunday so make sure to get your bets and one and done selections done in time.


Last Week

Last week was a profitable one thanks to a full place return from Will Zalatoris , Rickie on the other hand didn't fair so well. The new daddy bounce didn't do much for Fowler and a lot of rust was evident after his extended break. I fully expect a win to come from both this season and they are worth keeping an eye on.


The Betting:

A run down of the the favourites in the field this week based on odds via Oddschcker:

  • Jon Rahm 15/2

  • Justin Thomas 12/1

  • Xander Schauffele 16/1

  • Hideki Matsuyama 20/1

  • Daniel Berger , Bryson DeChambeau 22/1

  • Sam Burns 25/1

  • SungJae Im , Scottie Scheffler ,Tony Finau 30/1

  • Brooks Kopeka , Will Zalatoris 35/1

  • Jordan Speith 40/1

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The Course

(An overhead shot of Torrey Pines South Course)


The event is played out across both courses at Torrey Pines , the North and South Courses. The North Course is historically the easier of the two and will be played on one of the four days. It is a 2016 Tom Weiskopf redesign which measure at 7,248 Yards.


Three of the four days of the event will take place exclusively on the South Course including the final two days action on Friday and Saturday making the South Course the one to focus on this week.


The South Course is a beast of course. It is a 7,692 Yard Par 72 which was redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001 adding significant yardage onto it in order to make it a true major test. It is comprised of four Par 3's - 3 of which are over 200 yards , eight Par 4's and four Par 5's.


The fairways and rough at Torrey Pines are made up of kikuyu grass which is a relatively unique grass type. It can be found at Riviera Country Club (Genesis Invitational) and Club de Golf Chapultepec ( WGC-Mexico Championship) . The greens are large Bentgrass/Poa Aunna greens.



Past Results at the Farmers Insurance Open

Year

Winner

Runner-Up

2021

Patrick Reed (-14)

Xander Schauffele , Viktor Hovland , Henrik Norlander , Tony Finau , Ryan Palmer

2020

Mark Leishman (-15)

Jon Rahm (-14)

2019

Justin Rose (-21)

Adam Scott (-19)

2018

Jason Day (-10)

Alex Noren/Ryan Palmer (-10)

2017

Jon Rahm (-13)

CT Pan , Charles Howell III (-10)

2016

Brandt Snedeker (-6)

KJ Choi (-5)


(2021 Farmers Insurance Open Champion Patrick Reed)



The Stats

Love it or hate it , courses that have been played on as much as Torrey Pines has offers up enormous amounts of statistical data over the years that need to be dug into in order to try and pick out who is going to win it all in such a stacked field such as this week .


There are four key Strokes Gained stats that I have pulled together and put in a table below. The four areas are:

  • Strokes Gained Total - North/South Course (Last 36 Rounds)

  • Strokes Gained Total - Other Kikuya Grass Courses (Last 24 Rounds) Riviera/Club de Golf Chapultepec

  • Strokes Gained Putting - Bentgrass Greens (Last 2 Years)

  • Strokes Gained Tee2Green (All Courses - Last 12 Months)

Rank

SG Total: Kikuya Grass Courses

​SG: Total (North/South Course)

SG: Putting (Bentgrass)

SG: T2G

1

Justin Thomas

Tony Finau

Brandt Snedeker

Jon Rahm

2

Dustin Johnson

Jon Rahm

Alex Noren

SungJae Im

3

Jon Rahm

Jason Day

Dustin Johnson

Daniel Berger

4

Seung-Yol Noh

Brandt Snedeker

Justin Rose

Luke List

5

James Han

Marc Leishman

Mackenzie Hughes

Justin Thomas

6

Tony Finau

Patrick Reed

Stephen Jaeger

Aaron Wise

7

Xander Schauffele

Ryan Palmer

Adam Schenk

Tom Hoge

8

Phil Mickelson

Justin Rose

​Lanto Griffen

Talor Gooch

9

Talor Gooch

Keegan Bradley

Adam Long

Jason Dufner

10

Carlos Ortiz

Hideki Matsuyama

Brian Stuard

Sam Burns



Conculsion: Torrey Pines is a course that suits certain players games perfectly and will be a nightmare to others. Names such as Tony Finau , Jon Rahm , Dustin Johnson to name a few have a great track record both here and on courses with similar terrains. For the most part it takes a player of real class to win this event/around this track. It is no surprise that four of the last six winners of the event are major winners either at the time of winning or within a couple of years after it. As it turned out , last week was a week for the outsiders and big prices - this week I see a strong case for the winner to be in the 16/1 - 40/1 range.



The Picks:


Tony Finau 33/1 2.5 Units Each-Way Leo Vegas 6 Places E/W


To say I am all in on Tony Finau this week is an understatement . He is my One and Done pick as well as my only selection for the Farmers Insurance Open. Finau is an event specialist with an excellent record around Torrey Pines. He recorded a T6 in 2020 and followed that up with a T2 finish at last years renewal. The only negative with Tony is his missed cut at the US Open at Torrey Pines last summer however we can forgive him that as a result of much different conditions , course set-up and major championship pressure.


Finau finally ended his five year winless drought last year at the Northern Trust to silence any doubters and has been easing his way back into things in 2022. Finau showed impressive temperament last weekend to make the cut. After starting slowly with consecutive rounds in the 70's, he carded a 5 under par round of 67 on Saturday to make the 54 Hole Cut.


Back at a course he loves , that perfectly suits his game and on a putting surface that he is proven on - look out for Tony lifting the trophy on Saturday .

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