Last Updated: 2018-01-22
A star-studded event gets underway on Thursday with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California. Wind is forecasted to be a major factor on Thursday, so those players that run into the 7,700-yard beast that is the South Course are going to have a rough go of things depending on the direction of the breeze. As we get closer to the tournament, you’ll want to make it a point to check out which players are on which course for Thursday’s windy conditions. For now, with that information available after posting, we’ll look at some value candidates.
We’ll try to help you with your daily fantasy golf choices by looking for the top values. Everybody can take the top guys and hope for the best, but it’s often that low-cost missing piece that makes all the difference in your GPPs, 50/50s, or H2H matchups. Keep that in mind as you read through these plays. We’re looking for cheap players with upside.
New to daily fantasy sports? Need to reload? DraftKings or FanDuel are the industry leaders in ease of use and safe, free transactions. Use these tips and the tips from BangTheBook Radio on Wednesdays with our resident golf betting expert Wes Reynolds, who outlines players to take a chance on for this weekend’s event. Also, we have golf previews for the PGA event each week.
Tony Finau ($8,700) – Tony Finau is a little more expensive than we usually focus on in this article, but he hasn’t missed a cut since May, so he’s been providing a pretty good return on investment. This will be his second-lowest price tag of the season with a pretty loaded field in La Jolla, but he’s a big hitter and that helps at this event. Shortening the South Course is imperative and Finau can really get it out there. He tied for fourth last year at 9-under and did well to battle back from an opening-round 73. Finau had three 71s before the Sunday monsoon in 2016 that finished with a 77, but he was 18th at 2-over. He was solidly T-24th in 2015. He’s played well here and has played well on other coastal courses with the poa annua greens, so hopefully he’s able to hit ‘em straight this week and cut through the Thursday winds.
Xander Schauffele ($8,100) – The value seemed to run out on Xander Schauffele for a while, but he’s back in a good spot this week. Schauffele is actually a La Jolla native that played his college golf at Long Beach State and San Diego State, so he’s very familiar with this area and certainly has some rounds on this course. Since his impressive 2017-18 debut at the CIMB Classic, Schauffele only has one top-25 finish as he’s had some hardships with the putter, but you have to think that he’ll relish the opportunity to play close to home in an area where he’s comfortable. He skipped last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge to get ready for this one in his old stomping grounds.
Jhonattan Vegas ($7,700) – We tipped Jhonattan Vegas in last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge and he finished just outside the top 10 with four rounds under 70. Vegas had 19 birdies against just four bogies. He played really well at the Tournament of Champions as well. He has three top-20 finishes in his last four events, so we’ll scoop up some nice value on his recent form this week. He finished just outside the top 25 last year with a 5-under score and was playing well in 2016 before the rain ruined everything for everybody and he shot a final-round 80. He was 11th in 2015. Given his recent form and some pretty good results here, he’s a viable streamer at this price.
JB Holmes ($7,400) – Is it better to rely on recent form or course form? Ideally, you’ll have both. When it comes to JB Holmes, you only have one. That is his course form. Holmes has not played well lately and did not finish the 2016-17 season on a high note either. But, Holmes has played pretty well here. He was T-33rd last season, but T-6th in the rainy weather in 2016 and was part of a four-way playoff for the crown in 2015. That was eventually won by Jason Day, but Holmes is a long hitter capable of shortening these two courses and snagged a top-25 finish in 2014, so he’s definitely worth a gamble at this price point.
Russell Knox ($7,600) – Russell Knox has had some solid finishes already so far. Knox opened 69-64, but had some difficulties over the weekend shooting 71s in the CareerBuilder Challenge. He was 10th at the Sony Open and was ninth earlier this season at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Knox hasn’t played this event since 2015 and missed the cut at 4-over, but he’s had some strong finishes over the last couple of years on the PGA Tour and looks poised to keep his good run going because he’s been so good around the greens and with his approach shots. Those can help in a big way on long courses, so Knox, who isn’t the longest hitter, can still make up ground by leaving his shots close to the pins. Over his last four events, Knox has 69 birdies and just 22 bogies.
-END OF 2018 PICKS-
A very strong field will tee it up this weekend at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Like other events early in the season, this is a tournament that will take place on two different courses, which is sometimes due to field size, but also to make sure that the shortened hours of the winter don’t cause the final groups to postpone until the next day. Some of golf’s best, like Dustin Johnson and Jason Day, are in this event, but it also marks the return of Tiger Woods, so that merits watching. As always, our quest in these golf daily fantasy articles is to look for the top value picks on the board.
Everybody can take the top guys and hope for the best, but it’s often that low-cost missing piece that makes all the difference in your GPPs, 50/50s, or H2H matchups.
New to daily fantasy sports? Need to reload? DraftKings or FanDuel are the industry leaders in ease of use and safe, free transactions. Use these tips and the tips from BangTheBook Radio on Wednesdays with our resident golf betting expert Wes Reynolds, who outlines players to take a chance on for this weekend’s event. Also, we have golf previews for the PGA and the European Tour events each week.
Gary Woodland ($8,600) – Gary Woodland is on the higher end of our salary spectrum for this article, but it’s tough to overlook the upside that he has in an event like this. Woodland was one of many that fell victim to Mother Nature’s rage in the final round to end with an 82, but he was 68-67-73 over the first three rounds last year to finish tied for 18th. Woodland cracked the top 10 in 2014 at 6-under. The South Course at Torrey Pines is regularly among the hardest courses on Tour and it’s because of its length. The course measures nearly 7,700 yards. So, you need a guy that can shorten it and Woodland is one of those guys. He played very well at the Sony Open two weeks ago to finish in the top 10 with 21 birdies against just four bogies, so hopefully he can carry that over.
JB Holmes ($8,200) – This is unquestionably an event for the bombers. JB Holmes can rip it with the best of them. He showed that ability with a runner-up finish back in 2015. He was among four players tied after 72 holes, but fell short when Jason Day won the event. Holmes tied for sixth last year and shot a really respectable 76 during that brutal final round. He shot 70-68-72 prior to that. Holmes was within the top 25 in 2014 and has made three straight cuts. He’s really underpriced here and honestly has a shot to win in the 40/1 price range out in the betting market.
Tony Finau ($7,700) – Sensing a pattern? Tony Finau is another guy that has the length to shorten the South Course. It just so happens that he’s playing some pretty good golf right now as well. He finished in the top 10 at the SBS Tournament of Champions and tied for 20th at the Sony Open, which was a little bit disappointing after opening with a 64. Finau tied for 18th last year with three 71s and a 78. He was in the top 25 in 2015, which was his first year in the event. At a price point like this, with his ability to get to the longer greens in three and avoid those big numbers, he has to be a consideration. He’s 10th in driving distance on the young year.
Smylie Kaufman ($6,900) – This is a pretty nice price for Smylie Kaufman. Kaufman is in the top five in driving distance on the PGA Tour this year, so that’s a good starting point for a 7,700-yard monster like the South Course. He did not play well last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, so we’re getting him at a pretty good price here. He tied for 25th last year and had one of the better scores with a 76 in that final round. It was his first taste of Torrey Pines, so we have to assume that he’ll have a better idea of what to expect this time around and that should be very beneficial for him.
Kyle Stanley ($6,000) – We’re really digging deep to take a shot here. Kyle Stanley is 36th in driving distance, just a few feet above three bills on the year. He has the highest driving accuracy among the top 30 in distance, so that’s a consideration, even if the sample sizes remain a little bit small. Stanley was very quietly the runner-up here way back in 2012. He finished tied for 25th last year with a 69-73-74-75. He barely made the cut in 2015, but he made it. He’s a high-variance player here with some MCs and some decent results, but he’s worth looking up if you want to carry guys like Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson.
Players to Avoid:
Jason Day ($11,400) – The players to avoid backfired last week two weeks ago when Justin Thomas won back-to-back events, but I’m feeling pretty good about this one. Jason Day has the talent to win anywhere, but his chronic back problems have forced some adjustments to his swing. Day is reportedly working on a shorter swing in an effort to feel better when swinging. Well, a shorter swing probably means less distance. That will mean that Day could have some long second and third shots and he’s still working his way back from the injury. He’s a past winner here back in 2015, so he gets respect from that, but he’s a risky proposition this week.
Tiger Woods ($7,900) – We’re going to find out very quickly what kind of shape Tiger Woods is in. He has very high hopes for the next five weeks, in which he’ll play four tournaments, but starting out with Torrey Pines is a big task. Woods is a seven-time winner here in this event and also won the 2008 U.S. Open on this track, so he knows it well, but his body may falter under the pressure of the South Course. At this price, it’s pretty easy to think about taking a flyer on him, but it certainly feels like there are much better options in this range.
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