Farmers Insurance Open In-Tournament Picks: Look for Dustin Johnson to Crash the Party
Farmers Insurance Open In-Tournament Picks
Farmers Insurance Open Live Picks
Current Leader: Adam Schenk, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas (-13)
Round 3 Start Time: 12:30 PM ET
Course: Torrey Pines (South)
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Farmers Insurance Open Predictions
We've reached the halfway point at the Farmer's Insurance Open, and there have been no shortage of fireworks. One of the biggest narratives heading into the week was that Torrey Pines tends to weed out the weaker players from the elites. Outside of Scott Stallings in 2014, each of the last winners of this event have come at prices of 60/1 or shorter. Through two rounds, the top two players on the pre-tournament odds board, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, sit atop the leaderboard.
As is always the case, there are a few surprise names that have worked themselves into the conversation. After firing a 10-under par 62 on the much easier North course, Adam Schenk is tied with Rahm and Thomas at the top. Cameron Tringale, who similar to Schenk, has never won on the PGA Tour, sits one stroke back of the trio at 13-under. Another surprise name, Peter Malnati, rounds out the top-5 at 11-under par. A few notable names, such as Billy Horschel and Sungjae Im, lurk at eight-under par. Dustin Johnson, Will Zalatoris, and Scottie Scheffler headline a crop of intriguing challengers at seven-under par. With how well Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are playing, I do not see anyone lower than the players at 7-under par having a chance to win, and even those at seven will need a lot of help.
To be completely honest, I was very close to writing up Jon Rahm, who can be found as high as +140 via the OddsChecker golf grid. The reigning U.S. Open winner shot a flawless 66 in round one on the much more difficult South course, where he ranked third in strokes gained approach and fourth in strokes gained off the tee. Rahm followed that up with a seven-under par 65 on the North Course on Thursday, and while we do not have shot-tracker from the North Course, Rahm looked completely in control. In his post-round interview, the World No. 1 talked about his frustration with his game, and I cannot really fault him for feeling that way. It does feel like we haven't even seen his best golf yet, a scary proposition for his competitors.
The biggest reason why I believe Rahm will be so difficult to track down is because I expect the course to play a lot harder over the weekend. Obviously, players are finished with the North course, and the final 36 holes will be played on the South course, which played a full five strokes more difficult. I was surprised at how low the scoring was across both courses, but we really started to see the South course show its teeth as we reached the afternoon on Thursday. I expect the South course to continue to firm up over the weekend, and I also predict far more difficult pin positions than what we saw over the first 36 holes.
Over a large sample size, Rahm is the number one player on the PGA Tour in difficult scoring conditions. Justin Thomas is not far behind, but we saw what Rahm was able to do over the weekend in June when Torrey Pines started to firm up. While I pray that he falters, I do not believe that +140 is an unfair price for Rahm heading into Friday.
With all of that being said, if there is any player that I trust has the wherewithal to crash the party, it's Dustin Johnson. The World No. 3 opened with a four-under par 68 on the North course, where he ranked second in strokes gained approach and 13th in strokes gained off the tee. He fell behind with a disappointing 69 on the South course, but I've still been incredibly impressed with how in-sync the 24-time PGA Tour winner has looked.
The pre-tournament concerns with Dustin Johnson were obvious. This was his first competitive action since the CJ Cup in October, and Johnson carries a somewhat unfair reputation of someone who doesn't spend a lot of time grinding on his game during the offseason. How much truth there is to that is irrelevant, as the World No. 3's ball-striking looked as if it hadn't missed a beat. The other reason why I am drawn to Johnson is his ability to put together low rounds when the scoring gets tougher. Of the 22 players at 7-under or better, only Rahm and Scottie Scheffler have gained more strokes in difficult scoring conditions over the last two years. This tournament will likely turn into a two-horse race if Rahm and Thomas break par tomorrow, but the fact that Johnson looked far more comfortable on the more difficult South course provides at least some hope. Dustin Johnson can be found at 45/1 at UniBet via the OddsChecker golf grid.
Ultimately, this is a very difficult tournament to bet live with how impressive Rahm and Thomas have looked, and a more sensible strategy may be to seek out matchups against Adam Schenk, Peter Malnati, and Cameron Tringale, who are sure to falter when the course firms up. With that being said, I'll take my chances on Dustin Johnson, the player I trust the most to thrive on a harder test over the weekend.
Farmer's Insurance Open Live Picks
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.