Paulie's Picks: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

Jon Rahm added another win to his resume (and ours) at the CareerBuilder Challenge. The Tour now heads to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. The field will play one round on the South course and one on North course before the 36 hole cut. After the cut, the field plays the final 36 holes on the South Course. The North Course is the easier of the two lengthy courses both of which feature narrow fairways, penal rough and firm undulating greens.

The event has a great young talented group of Sponsor’s Exemptions, Maverick McNealy, Sam Burns, Julian Suri, Cameron Davis, Will Zalatoris and Norman Xiong.

DraftKings:

Xander Schauffele $8,100

Schauffele is a perfect leverage play this week for DraftKings tournaments. I expect people to skip over him since he has missed the cut in his only two appearances at the event. That was before Schauffele gained confidence from his top 10 finish at the US Open and winning two PGA Tour events. Schauffele is from nearby La Jolla, Ca and attended Torrey Pines High School and San Diego State. Besides course knowledge, Schauffele’s strengths (driving and putting) also fits the course. He has gained an average of 2.7 shots off the tee and 1.6 strokes putting per event over his last ten events. At $8,100, he will be a great pivot play off of some of the chalkier players such as Charles Howell. 

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Julian Suri $7,500

One of the sponsor exemptions this week, Julian Suri, is going to be one of the most overlooked players in the field. He decided to go the Brooks Koepka route, playing in Europe for the first few years of his professional career. He’s on a hot streak, in the last year he’s moved from outside the top 1000 in the world rankings to 62nd. Suri has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts.

One-and-Done

Jon Rahm

I expect Rahm to be the highest owned player in leagues this week. He’s coming in off of a win and is the defending champion, making him an attractive option. However, he may serve more value down the road when he isn’t as popular of a pick.

Charles Howell/Tony Finau/Gary Woodland

I expect these three players to take up a fair portion of the non-Rahm picks this week. They all have great course history, solid current form, and excellent course fit. I can’t argue against choosing any of these players as a punt option this week if you so choose.

Marc Leishman/Xander Schauffele

If you want to go against the grain and think outside the box, you may want to consider choosing Leishman or Schauffele. I expect them to be very low owned in your league and offer you a chance to jump up in the standings. Leishman had a great 2017 and had three top tens in nine starts at Torrey (including two runner-up finishes). The South course reminds him of courses back in his native Australia with the Kikuyu fairways and Poa annua greens.

Longshots:

Nick Watney (150-1 to win, 10-1 top 10)

Watney, the California native, has had success in the past at this venue. He has six top tens in his last 11 starts at Torrey highlighted by a victory in 2009. He showed signs of life last week by shooting 65-67 in the first two rounds but faltered over the weekend. I look for him to put all of the pieces together this week on a familiar track.

Cameron Davis (175-1 to win, 10-1 top 10)

Davis is unknown in golf circles, but I have been following him for a few years. He is one of the best young Australian stars. He captured his first professional victory a few months back at the Australian Open in a field that included Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. He pounds the ball (330+ off of the tee) a big asset at Torrey. His game reminds me of a young Jason Day.