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DraftKings PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf Preview: Farmers Insurance Open Course History vs. Current Form

Zach Thompson takes a look at some of the golfers with the best course history and current form ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The PGA TOUR continues the West Coast swing traveling across the state and heading from the desert to the ocean and from La Quinta to La Jolla as they get ready to tee it up at the historic and picturesque Torrey Pines. With no NFL action this weekend, the PGA TOUR regains the spotlight on CBS at the site of this summer’s U.S. Open.

Each week this season, I’ll take a look at two of the key factors to consider when building DraftKings lineups. We’ll take a look at players who have a good history at the specific course being played (or similar courses if it’s a new venue), and we’ll also take a look at some of the golfers coming in with the best recent results.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $1M Pitch + Putt [$250K to 1st]

Course History

This event has been pretty stable at this point in the calendar and with this name for the past 11 years. Tiger Woods has dominated historically with seven career victories at the Farmers Insurance Open, but he won’t be playing this year due to recurring back issues. The top players in the world typically play well at Torrey Pines, which emphasizes approach shots and avoiding bogeys while winding along the coastline just outside of San Diego. Here are the players who have had the best results over the past five years.

Course History

Player Name Salary 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Player Name Salary 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Jon Rahm $11,300 -- 1 29 5 2
Rory McIlroy $11,000 -- -- -- 5 3
Tony Finau $10,700 18 4 6 13 6
Patrick Reed $10,100 W/D -- 23 13 6
Hideki Matsuyama $9,200 CUT 13 12 3 45
Si Woo Kim $8,900 18 W/D 35 29 --
Marc Leishman $8,700 CUT 20 8 43 1
Jason Day $8,600 CUT CUT 1 5 16
Ryan Palmer $8,400 -- -- 2 13 21
Gary Woodland $7,800 18 20 12 9 CUT
Jason Kokrak $7,700 25 CUT -- 20 21
Charles Howell III $7,500 16 2 6 20 --
Brandt Snedeker $7,000 1 9 45 62 3

Jason Day ($8,600) and Brandt Snedeker ($7,000) have both won this event twice in the past while Rory McIlroy ($11,000) has yet to break through with a win here but has finished in the top five in each of the past two years. Jon Rahm ($11,300) has also finished in the top five in each of those events after getting his first career victory at this event back in 2017. Marc Leishman ($8,700) held off both Rory and Rahm last year to claim his win here last year after finishing in the top 10 four other times in his career, including a pair of runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2014.

While he didn’t quite make the list above since his win dates back to before the chart, Bubba Watson ($8,800) is another former champion at Torrey Pines from 2011. Nick Watney ($6,300) won here back in 2009 and Phil Mickelson ($7,200) has three tournament titles on this track, although his recent results haven’t been great.

Normally, players who do well at Torrey Pines fit a specific profile. The length of the South Course demands you hit it pretty well off the tee, but the real focus is on the second shot, with SG: Approach being the top stat that leads to success. It’s also key that players do well on SG: Around the Green and Bogey Avoidance to avoid dropping shots when their approach isn’t right on the money. Overall, the South Course is usually one of the most difficult on the PGA TOUR, and even the North Course, where players will be for one of the first two rounds, has been toughened up over the past few years. The greens on the South Course are Poa Annua, although the North is now bentgrass, so give a longer look to players who excel putting on that type of green like Snedeker, Watson, Matthew Wolf ($9,100) and Tony Finau ($10,700).

Watson ranks No. 4 on the PGA TOUR so far this season in SG: Approach and No. 2 on the PGA TOUR in SG: Tee-to-Green. If he can get his putter going at all, he should be able to find another win on the West Coast swing, where he has had a lot of success in his career. Wolff is also in the top 10 in SG: Approach this season, and the 21-year-old has the kind of game to have a long run of good results ahead of him on this track after posting a T21 in his first Farmers Insurance last season.

Current Form

We’re still adding in some of the big names in the field for the first time since the holidays, so there isn’t a ton of recent form for players sitting at the top of the salary structure. There have now been three events in 2021, but there aren’t many players who have played all three of those weeks and are also getting ready to take on Torrey Pines. Here are some of the most notable players coming in with good form:

Current Form

Player Name Salary Houston Open The Masters RSM Classic Mayakoba Sentry TOC Sony Open The American Express
Player Name Salary Houston Open The Masters RSM Classic Mayakoba Sentry TOC Sony Open The American Express
Tony Finau $10,700 -- 38 -- 8 31 -- 4
Harris English $9,800 -- -- 6 5 1 32 --
Sungjae Im $9,600 50 2 CUT -- 5 56 12
Hideki Matsuyama $9,200 2 13 -- -- 41 19 --
Marc Leishman $8,700 -- 13 -- CUT 24 4 --
Cameron Davis $7,900 68 -- CUT -- 31 -- 3
Carols Ortiz $7,500 1 -- -- 8 37 14 --
John Huh $7,000 48 -- 12 20 -- -- 21

It’s always a good thing to see a confluence for some players with their names on both lists since that means they have nice form coming to a track where they have played well in the past. Finau, Leishman and Hideki Matsuyama all fit that description this week. Finau, in particular, seems poised to get a win soon and his recent strong showings at Torrey make him a prime target for this week. In his six trips to this event, he has never finished outside the top 25 and leads the field in SG: Total on this track over the past five years. He has been dialed in with his tee-to-green game in the early going this season but needs to get his flat stick turned around. Maybe the switch to Poa Annua for three rounds this week will help him get things going on the greens.

Matsuyama typically thrives on the West Coast swing and looked solid in Hawaii after the holiday layoff. He’s one of the most consistent performers on the PGA TOUR each season and always seems to work his way onto the leaderboard at this type of challenging Major-Championship-level courses. Like Finau and Watson, his driving and approaches have been excellent in this 2020-21 season, but his putting has let him down. He’s 13th on the PGA TOUR in SG: Tee-to-Green but is losing over half a stroke per round to the field on the green. Even just average putting will help him post a strong result this week if the rest of his game stays so locked in.

If you’re looking for a cheaper play with some solid current form, check out John Huh ($7,000), who took almost all of last year off after the COVID-19 hiatus and only returned in the fall. Since coming back, though, his game has been on point with four top-25 finishes and no missed cuts. He is also in the top 20 on the PGA TOUR this season in SG: Approach and has made the cut in eight of his nine career trips to Torrey Pines. He’s a nice chance to get that confluence of both course history and current form at a very affordable salary.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $1M Pitch + Putt [$250K to 1st]

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