Farmers Insurance Open First Round Leader Predictions and Picks: Back a Hot Start From Luke List

Another week and another multi-course rotation, Tom Jacobs looks to crack the code for the Farmers Insurance Open First Round Leader on both the North and South Course here at Torrey Pines.
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Farmers Insurance Open First Round Leader Predictions and Picks: Back a Hot Start From Luke List

This week we have another multi-course rotation. This time the North and South courses at Torrey Pines will play host and will be the centerpiece of this article.

As a result, there will be an individual First Round Leader market on each course, and in this article, we will break down the score likely required to lead on day one, the players that have done it in the past, when is best to go out and much more. For more general information on the course, please see my course preview here.

First Round Leader Strategy

This tends to change week-to-week depending on weather and course conditions but we tend to target early tee times when playing Stateside, as that seems to give players an edge as they’re out in generally calm conditions, with the best greens and smaller crowds unless in a marquee group, giving them a chance to string together their round in peace.

This week we have two courses to look at, the North and South Course. Both courses are Par 72's, with the North Course the easier of the two setups. The North Course features Bentgrass greens, while the South uses Poa Annua on their greens.

Typically the lowest scores come from the North Course, but in 2020, 66 was the best score on both courses, and the North has been toughened since Tom Weiskopf's renovation in 2016.

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Lowest scores at Torrey Pines (10 Years)

Below is the lowest Round 1 scores shot at the North Course over the past 10 years:

  • 2021 - Alex Noren (10:10 am) & Patrick Reed (9:40 am) - 64
  • 2020 - Keegan Bradley (10:40 am) - 66
  • 2019 - Jon Rahm (9:30 am) - 62
  • 2018 - Tony Finau (10:30 am) - 65
  • 2017 - Justin Rose (9:30 am) - 65
  • 2016 - Andrew Loupe (10:00 am) - 66
  • 2015 - Nicholas Thompson (10:10 am second tee time) - 65
  • 2014 - Stewart Cink (9:30 am) - 64
  • 2013 - Brandt Snedeker (9:30 am) - 65
  • 2012 - Kyle Stanley (9:10 am) & Spencer Levin (8:40 am) - 62

Below is the lowest Round 1 scores shot at the South Course over the past 10 years:

  • 2021 - Peter Malnati (9:10 am) & Ryan Palmer (9:30 am) - 66
  • 2020 - Sebastian Cappelen (9:50 am) - 66
  • 2019 - Brandon Hagy (9:00 am 1st tee time), Charles Howell III (9:30 am) & Chris Stroud (9:20 am) - 66
  • 2018 - Ryan Palmer (10:10 am) & Ted Potter Jr. (9:20 am) - 66
  • 2017 - Adam Hadwin (9:00 am, 1st tee time) - 66
  • 2016 - Scott Brown (9:10 am) - 66
  • 2015 - Jhonattan Vegas (10:00 am, 1st tee time) - 67
  • 2014 - Pat Perez (9:00 am, 1st tee time) - 67
  • 2013 - K.J. Choi (10:30 am) - 65
  • 2012 - Marc Turnesa (9:00 am) - 66

Who in this field started fastest on Tour last season?

Here are the 10 fastest starters in the field based on Round 1 Scoring Average in the 2020/21 PGA Tour season.

  • Jon Rahm (2nd overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 68.95) – Low Opening Round – 63 (The Northern Trust)
  • Patrick Reed (9th overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.55) – Low Opening Round – 64 (Farmers Insurance Open)
  • Cameron Tringale (3rd overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.23) – Low Opening Round – 66 (Shriners and Valero Texas Open)
  • Scottie Scheffler (T5 overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.37) – Low Opening Round – 65 (Farmers Insurance Open and FedEx St Jude)
  • Xander Schauffele (T7 overall in 2020/21 - Scoring Average 69.50) - Low Opening Round - 66 (CJ Cup and Phoenix Open)
  • Patrick Reed (9th overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.55) – Low Opening Round – 64 (Farmers Insurance Open)
  • Keegan Bradley (T13 overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.65) – Low Opening Round - 64 (Valspar Championship)
  • Sam Burns (16th overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.67) – Low Opening Round – 64 (Safeway, Genesis, Phoenix)
  • Justin Thomas (17th overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.68) – Low Opening Round – 63 (The Northern Trust)
  • Joaquin Niemann (18th overall in 2020/21 – Scoring Average 69.69) – Low Opening Round – 62 (Sony Open)

What score is required to lead after round 1?

On the North Course, the average leading score over the past 10 years is 64.40. If you just take the average from the last four results since the renovation, the average score is 64.66. Given that includes a 62 from Jon Rahm, 65 might well be enough, but I will still say the target is 64.

On the South Course, the average leading score over the past 10 years is 66.1. The obvious target score for the South Course is 66, but 65 might be required to get it done if the conditions are favorable.

Farmers Insurance Open Odds

GolferFarmers Insurance Odds
Jon Rahm+750
Justin Thomas+1600
Xander Schauffele+2000
Bryson DeChambeau+2200
Hideki Matsuyama+2200
Daniel Berger+2500
Dustin Johnson+2500
Sam Burns+2500
Tony Finau+3000
Scottie Scheffler+3000

Click Here for Complete Farmers Insurance Open Odds

The Favorites

Jon Rahm to post the lowest score on the South Course in Round 1 (+1100) (Bet $100 to Win $1100)

No surprise here, the outright favorite is the favorite in this market as well, but at 11/1 and given his later tee time, I will take him on.

Rahm tees off at 10:40 am and while something like this is probably insignificant to the World No.1, who boasts the record he does here, I am happy to opposed him with a few others.

He has two separate weekend rounds of 65 on this golf course, the first of which came on Sunday when winning on his debut in 2017, but I will hang on to the hope that he starts with a solid round of 68/69 and kicks on at the North Course on Thursday, rather than starting fast tomorrow.

Bryson DeChambeau, Daniel Berger, and Xander Schauffele to post the lowest score on the North Course in Round 1 (+1800) (Bet $100 to Win $1800)

The market can't seem to decide between the three, which is going to get off to the fastest start at the easier North course, so I will try and break it down for you here.

Bryson DeChambeau is yet to break 70 on this golf course, so we have no past experience to go by, but he's also not played it since the transformation to a long-hitting specialist, and I suspect he will fare better than he did in 2017 and 2018. Of the three I think he has the clearest path to a low round. His 9:40 am tee time is earlier than Xander's and while we know what Xander has been like at this golf course, we do not know the same about the "new Bryson". If I had to take a favorite, it would be him.

Xander Schauffele's best rounds at this event are 69, which he shot in the final round last year when finishing 2nd, and when he finished 25th two years prior he opened with a 69, which again came on the South Course, so there's little to suggest he can go deep here, other than we know at his best he can dominate anywhere. Like Rahm before him, I think he's opposable.

Daniel Berger has made one cut in this event and shot 68 at this course back in 2015 on his debut, but he's otherwise missed the cut or avoided the event entirely. The layout at the South Course is a bit long for him, so you would expect him to take advantage here instead, but I think having these three as front-runners in this market is a bonus given their patchy course form.

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Farmers Insurance Open First Round Leader Picks

Luke List to post the lowest score on the South Course in Round 1 (+3300) (Bet $100 to Win $3300)

Luke List has been in great form so far this season and for the large parts of last season, and long-term I am bullish on his upside on TOUR.

He's had some good finishes here, (12th and 10th), with his 10th place finish the most recent 12 months ago.

Here last year, he shot a final-round 66 on the South Course, and that adds to his Round 2 66 on this tough layout back in 2018 as well. A 69 final-round in 2020 makes it a trio of great rounds on the tougher South Course layout, and with an early tee time, he looks set for another low one here.

He's shot rounds of 65, 66, and 66 in at least one round of his last three events, where he has finished no worse than T22, and I think that is crucial as he heads into the week.

In four of the last ten years, the lowest round on the South Course has come from someone in the first group out and I will take a chance that List does the same here.

List was within two of the first-round lead here last year, when opening with a 66 on the North Course and that was the 19th time in his career he was within touching distance of the opening day lead, and he looks more than capable of setting the pace this week.

Sepp Straka to post the lowest score on the South Course in Round 1 (+8000) (Bet $100 to Win $8000)

I am going to go back to the well with Sepp Straka this week as he played close to expectations when tipping him in this market, on the Stadium Course last week at the AMEX. With the same logic that I applied there, Straka seems to relish tough tests, and his record here on the South Course certainly attests to that.

He shot a 67 in Round 2 back in 2019 when teeing off at 9:50 am, and at the same time in the final round last year he shot a 65 as well, which was the lowest round of the day.

Now teeing off at 9:10 am in Round 1, on a course that historically favors the earliest groups, I think he makes a perfect compliment to the Luke List pick.

Wyndham Clark to post the lowest score on the South Course in Round 1 (+7000) (Bet $100 to Win $7000)

There's less evidence that Clark can lead this market, from a course form perspective, but Wyndham Clark is a proven entity for this bet and should have really cashed in Houston when we were on him.

He started that week with a 66 but really was right on course for a 64, and a 65 led the way, so it is fair to say he was right in the mix. Since then he's opened and closed with rounds of 66 at the RSM Classic and last week at the AMEX he opened with a 65 at La Quinta, so he's primed for a hot start.

Clark has the perfect skillset of long driving and good putting at his best, which work well on this tough layout and the early tee time (9:10 am) should suit him here.

We saw he can lead this market, when shooting a 61 in Phoenix back in 2020 and while he can't go that low here, nor does he need to, it is a good sign.

Adam Hadwin to post the lowest score on the North Course in Round 1 (+4000) (Bet $100 to Win $4000)

Adam Hadwin shot an opening 66 in this event back in 2013, which came on the North Course, and he returns to that layout to start his week this time as well.

With a 9:10 am tee time this week, I really like his chances of going low, especially as he's started some tournaments this season with low rounds.

In five of seven starts this season, he has opened with a round of 68 or better in Round 1 and now starting with an early tee time, on the easier layout, I think Hadwin can get his week off to a perfect start.

He's been within two of the lead after round 1, 26 times in his career, and his early tee time might be the difference between contending in this market and cashing in it. His 66 here in 2017 left him one short of the best round of the day and I think he can go one better this time, and add to his best score of the day at the tougher South Course in 2017.

Dylan Frittelli to post the lowest score on the North Course in Round 1 (+8000) (Bet $100 to Win $8000)

Dylan Frittelli is a bit of an enigma, but he possesses the right skill set needed to succeed here, and like Bryson DeChambeau who's a lot shorter than him in every market, he returns to this course a new player.

His game is now about Driving Distance, as he's picked up around 20 yards of distance since the pandemic hit and is in the same mold as Matthew Wolff who I like in the outright market, and Wyndham Clark who I like in this, I think he can tear the North Course apart.

He shot 66 at this course in Round 2 back in 2020 and while he didn't add to that in 2021, I do think he can do so here with the early tee time (9:20 am).

Incredibly difficult to get right on any given week, the odds suggest he's not to be trusted, and that may well be the case, but his upside is there for all to see. He's been within two of the first-round lead 17 times in his career, and while only twice has he actually led after the opening day, one of those times was at Augusta, on a bigger stage than this, so while this is a big tournament he's shown what he can do in elite company.

Click Here for Complete Farmers Insurance Open Odds

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-host the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on the tours on both sides of the pond. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, but his main passion remains golf, and every year he holds onto the hope of Lee Westwood winning his first major championship.

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