|Tony Finau to Win||20/1||Paddy Power (8 places)|
|Brandt Snedeker to Win||40/1||Paddy Power (8 places)|
|Joaquin Niemann for Top 20 Finish||5/1||888 Sport|
|Kyle Stanley to be Top American||40/1||Bet365|
The PGA Tour’s latest stop is one of its favourites – the Farmers Insurance Open - and this year there is an added twist.
The Californian cliff-tops of Torrey Pines will host the seasonal return of Tiger Woods, and a course debut for Rory McIlroy. The North and South Courses at Torrey Pines are used for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, with the South hosting the weekend rounds, after the cut.
The North is an easier track, and the South was used for the 2008 US Open, famously won on a broken leg by Tiger Woods - one of seven victories he has claimed at the club.
Little wonder then why he's among the favourites in the Farmers Insurance Open betting, with 11/1 shot Jon Rahm leading a strong field that includes Jason Day, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler and Marc Leishman - as well as Woods and McIlroy.
Here are four golfers to follow through the action, which begins on Thursday.
One name left off that list of contenders is Tony Finau, one of 2018’s most improved and consistent performers. The books do rate Finau behind almost all of those named above, and that’s fair enough based on his one win at this level.
But, if you rank the field on stroke average for the last six months, Finau comes third. Take it back a year and he’s still third.
In 2018, Finau ticked off 12 top 10 finishes, the first coming in the Farmers Insurance Open. Three of his top 10s were in the major championships, another three came in the FedEx Cup play-offs, and another was earned in a WGC event.
He’s a heck of a player, possibly on the cusp of great things, and that tied sixth in this tournament 12 months ago was no one-off. He’s made four starts at Torrey Pines, never been outside the top 25 and was fourth in 2017. He’s 20/1, with eight places being paid out at Paddy Power.
Some folk find peace in certain locations and for 38-year-old Brandt Snedeker that happy place seems to be on Californian cliff-tops. He’s finished top 10 in the US Open at both Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines – and that’s just for starters. He also has two wins at both venues, and at this week’s track he totals eight top 10s from 13 starts (including being twice second and once third).
A winner in August at the Wyndham Championship and a play-off loser in October’s Safeway Open, he was T16th last time out in the Sony Open when he carded 66-69-65-68. He’s 40/1 with Paddy Power and their eight places.
Chile’s Joaquin Niemann was the world’s number one amateur ahead of turning professional last year and part of his education in the non-paid ranks included shining when he played in the Junior World Championship, which Torrey Pines hosts every year.
In fact, Niemann claimed the title in 2015 and 2016 so will have every reason to feel very chipper about his return to the San Diego course.
His first few weeks as a pro were impressive as he collected four top 10 finishes in just eight starts and, whilst since then the pace has slowed a little, he has a touch of quality and he did return to the top 10 late in 2018 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. 888Sport go 5/1 that he makes the top 20 this weekend.
31-year-old American Kyle Stanley had something of a frustrating 2018, which saw him lose a play-off in the Memorial Tournament, finish second in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, and fade after heading into the final round of the Tour Championship in fourth. A return to Torrey Pines might remind him of another near miss, but it could also put the bit between his teeth.
It was here in 2012 that he held a four-shot lead at the 72nd hole, whereupon it frizzled away and he lost a play-off to Brandt Snedeker. Conventional wisdom says he’ll be haunted forever, but golfers have a funny habit of staring their past in the face and coming through it.
What we know for sure is that last time out he had a rusty first round 73 in the Sony Open, but followed it with 64-68-65, rushing from T127th after 18 holes to T22nd for the week. Bet365 make him 40/1 to end the week Top American.