After a return visit to California last week for The American Express, the PGA Tour continues its West Coast swing with a trip to the magnificent Torrey Pines for the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, California.
As was the case last year, the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open will be played Wednesday-Saturday this week as the PGA makes way for the NFL’s conference championship games on Sunday.
The Farmers marks an exciting stretch of events for golf fans with visits to Pebble Beach, the WM Phoenix Open, and Riviera for the Genesis Invitational, on the near horizon.
This week’s event is one of the marquee highlights on the golfing calendar each year and as such has attracted strong fields from year to year. 2023 is no different with five of the world’s top ten players per the OWGR in attendance.
The 156-man field who have made the trip to the San Diego area this week will play rounds on Torrey Pines’ North and South courses over the first two days before the South is once again in use on Friday and Saturday for those who make the weekend.
Torrey Pines’ South Course is the more difficult of the two. The Par 72, 7,765-yard layout was originally designed by William Bell before a Rees Jones renovation took place in 2001.
Tom Weiskopf renovated the North Course, also a William Bell design, back in 2016. The Par 72 is shorter in length at around 7,250 yards and is generally considered the easier of the two.
Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau, and Collin Morikawa are just several of the big names in action this week. Coming off of two consecutive wins in his first two starts of 2023, it’s Jon Rahm who is the substantial favorite in the betting markets this week.
Here is how the rest of this week’s betting favorites shake out over on WynnBet.
2023 Farmers Insurance Open Favorites
(All odds courtesy of Wynnbet. **Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.**)
- Jon Rahm (+400)
- Xander Schauffele (+1000)
- Tony Finau (+1200)
- Justin Thomas (+1400)
- Collin Morikawa (+1500)
- Will Zalatoris (+1750)
- Jason Day (+2000)
- Max Homa (+2000)
- Sungjae Im (+2250)
Pick to Top 20: Alex Smalley (+275)
Following a missed cut to begin 2023 at the Sony Open, Alex Smalley bounced back nicely last week at The American Express where he fired off rounds of 67, 68, 71, and 63, on his way to a T22 finish.
The Duke product impressed during the PGA ‘Fall Swing’, especially during the latter half when Smalley racked up finishes of 11th, 4th, and 5th to close out the year. A 4th place finish at the Cadence Bank Houston Open on a difficult track is of particular interest given some potential similarities with Torrey Pines this week.
Smalley made the cut in his first Farmers Insurance Open appearance last year and it would be reasonable to expect an even better performance this time around given how he has been playing of late.
The 26-year-old has the distance off the tee and exceptional iron play required to put together another nice week in California. Over his past 50 rounds, he ranks 16th or better among this week’s field in all of GIR percentage, SG: approach, and proximity from 200-plus yards, all of which will be crucial this week. If Smalley has just an average week on the greens at Torrey Pines he should be well positioned to finish inside the top 20 on the leaderboard come week’s end.
Pick to Top 20: Justin Rose (+210)
Justin Rose looked sharp in his return to action last week at The American Express.
Making his first start of 2023, the Englishman got in four rounds of competitive golf en route to a T26 finish. It was a result that could have been even better if not for an even-par 72 on Saturday at PGA West’s Stadium Course. Rose put together rounds of 66, 67, and 65 across the other three days, including on Sunday when he fired off a seven-under-par round on the same Stadium Course.
The 2019 Farmers Insurance Open champion returns to Torrey Pines this week following a T6th finish in this event last year. Rose’s track record at the Farmers over his last five starts is hard to beat with four of those five starts resulting in top 10s.
In fact, he has gained strokes with his approach play in seven of his previous ten starts at Torrey Pines and ranks fourth in the field in total strokes gained at this event. Rose is playing well enough at the moment to have another solid week at a locale that the former winner clearly loves.
Pick to Win: Max Homa (+2000)
Max Homa is making a habit of winning events in his home state. The 32-year-old has already won both the Genesis Invitational at Riviera and the season-opening Fortinet Championship at Silverado. Max won the Fortinet Championship for a second time last September to kick off his 2022-23 PGA campaign.
Dating back to the season-ending Tour Championship last August, Homa has racked up three top 5 finishes over his last five starts. He has finished 23rd or better in each of them. This includes in his last start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions to kick off 2023 where he finished tied for third.
Twelve of the last fourteen winners of the Farmers had recorded a top-ten finish at Torrey Pines prior to winning. Homa missed out on making the weekend at Torrey last year, but prior to that the California native had strung together finishes of 18th and 9th here.
Max has the complete game required to win an event like the Farmers and he has already shown that he can compete and win on the big stage. I like his chances of adding a fourth win in the state of California this week.