Draws & Fades: Jump on North Course players who can grind back

In a recent article by Ben Everill, the dynamics of the Farmers Insurance Open were dissected with a focus on the contrasting challenges of the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines Golf Course. A mantra that has long been associated with this tournament is "Dominate the North, survive the South," and this strategy was evident in the opening round's results.

The North Course, known for being shorter and more accessible, was where most of the top scorers played their first round. Kevin Yu led the pack with an impressive 8-under 64, closely followed by Ryo Hisatsune and Patrick Cantlay, both at 7-under. Major champions Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry, and others like Thomas Detry, Aaron Rai, and Alejandro Tosti also posted strong scores on the North Course.

Nicolai Højgaard, the European Ryder Cup player, emerged as a standout on the South Course, shooting a 5-under 67 on his first round at the challenging former U.S. Open venue. His performance was particularly notable given the tougher conditions of the South Course, indicated by its higher scoring average compared to the North Course.

With preferred lies expected for Round 2, players heading to the North Course had the opportunity to aim for lower scores. This strategy was key for bettors and golf enthusiasts looking to predict the contenders for the tournament. The odds from BetMGM Sportsbook reflected the potential of various players, including Cantlay, Matsuyama, Lowry, and Yu, to maintain their lead or make significant strides in the tournament.

A critical insight from the past decade at the Farmers Insurance Open is that winners have often started on the South Course, but recently, starting on the North Course has proven advantageous. The eventual winner could be leading after 18 holes or as far back as nine shots, with an average deficit of five shots.

Everill suggested "Draw" plays for those likely to make a comeback in Round 2, mostly playing the North, and advised holding off on those heading to the South Course until after 36 holes. This conservative approach in the early stages of the tournament could lead to a reassessment after the event moves exclusively to the South Course for the final two rounds.

Players like Tony Finau, Nicolai Højgaard, and Stephan Jaeger were highlighted as potential "Draws" due to their impressive performances and capabilities. In contrast, Patrick Cantlay, despite his strong start, was labeled a "Fade" due to the upcoming challenge of the South Course and his past performance at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Everill also mentioned "Lottery Tickets" – players like Luke List, Keegan Bradley, and Jason Day, who despite not being in the lead, had the potential to make significant moves in the upcoming rounds based on their skills and past performances.

This detailed analysis underscores the unique challenges and strategic considerations of the Farmers Insurance Open, highlighting the importance of course selection and adaptability in predicting potential winners and contenders.