Starts: 28th January 2021
Course: Torrey Pines (South and North)
Par: Both 72
Length: 7,765 yards and 7,258 yards
2020 Champion: Marc Leishman
Overall Profit/Loss: -17.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: -9.5pts
1pt EW Marc Leishman (1/5 1-8) - 33/1 @ William Hill
1pt EW Matthew Wolff (1/5 1-8) - 33/1 @ William Hill
0.75pts EW Billy Horschel (1/5 1-8) - 45/1 @ William Hill
0.5pts EW Talor Gooch (1/5 1-8) - 80/1 @ William Hill
0.5pts EW Carlos Ortiz (1/5 1-7) - 100/1 @ Betfred
0.25pts EW Scott Stallings (1/5 1-8) - 250/1 @ William Hill
0.75pts EW Gary Woodland (1/5 1-8) - 66/1 @ Betfair
In-Play Bets: -8pts
29 January 2021 (-2pts)
0.5pts EW Beau Hossler (1/5 1-5) - 150/1 @ Skybet
0.5ptsEW Adam Hadwin (1/5 1-6) - 150/1 @ William Hill
30 January 2021 (-4pts)
2pts Adam Scott Win Only - 9/1 @ Skybet
1ptEW Jason Kokrak (1/5 1-5) - 50/1 @ William Hill
31 January 2021 (-2pts)
2pts Viktor Hovland Win Only - 9/1 @ William Hill
High Quality Leaderboard
Once again, leaderboard was packed with big names. Only one player (Henrik Norlander) in the top 9 was outside the top 60 in the world rankings. Only two of them (Norlander and Griffin), started at over 66/1 pre tournament.
In 2021, the only day with enough wind to affect scoring was 2nd round. Very still over the weekend.
The Cream will rise
The tough nature of the course will eventually lead to the top players catching up. Xander and Finau started round four outside the top 10 and finished joint 2nd.
Player Notes 2021
As the poa gets soft here, obviously it gets a little bumpy and you start to just make some really tentative strokes and I sort of started to do that over the weekend here.
I think maybe I'm riding my luck a little bit at the minute, but the lies I've gotten in the rough haven't been too bad. There's been a couple that have been tough and you're having to just try to play to the front of the greens or whatever. (3rd Round).
Course Designer: South - William P Bell 1957, Rees Jones re-design 2001 and 2019. North - Tom Weiskopf re-design 2016
Tournament played here since: 1952
Type of Course: South - Coastal, Long, Demanding. North - Coastal, Short
Fairways: Narrow, Bermuda Grass
Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass, Thick.
Greens: South - Poa Annua 11.5 on stimpmeter North - Bentgrass 10.5 on stimpmeter
Water Hazards: 18th only
Par 5's: 6th, 9th, 13th, 18th (South Course)
Premium on: Tee to green and POA Annua Grass putters
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
The players each play the North and the South Course during the first two rounds. Please be aware, if betting in play, the South Course plays significantly tougher. The South Course is used for the final 36 holes.
The South Course was renovated in 2019 by Rees Jones prior to the US Open in June. It increased in length and was generally made tougher.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
The winning score has ranged from -9 to -21 over the years, although it has to be said, Justin Rose's -21 in 2019 was exceptional golf. We can expect a winning score similar to Marc Leishman's -15 last year.
Price of Winner
We've not had a winner starting at over 55/1 since 2013 when Scott Stallings won at 250/1. Given the demanding nature of Torrey Pines, class usually prevails.
Pebble Beach, Glen Abbey, Riviera (All POA Annua greens), Muirfield Village
Jon Rahm won on his debut in 2017, but more often than not the winner has a strong record already. Leishman, Rose, Day (twice), Snedeker (twice) and Watson all had several top 10's before their win. Side with strong course experience.
You don't need to be in blistering form to win here. Three of the last four winners - Marc Leishman, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm - all arrived in mediocre form (albeit making cuts). Don't be too put off if your fancy isn't nailing top 10's already.
Used to be heavily dominated by Americans, but Brandt Snedeker the only one to win in the last 6 editions. Three of the last six have been Australian - funnily enough this tournament falls on Australia Day!
We are looking for a player with high SG: Approach and SG: Off The Tee figures. Players who can putt on POA Annua greens also a massive bonus.
Marc Leishman only ranked 34th for distance, but Jason Day ranked 1st and 2nd for his two wins and Rose ranked 11th in 2019. Distance definitely an advantage around the South Course.
SG: Off The Tee
Leishman only ranked 48th but the previous 3 winners were ranked top 15 here. Strong drivers preferred.
Jason Day was 50th but 3 of the last 4 winners have ranked top 5 in this category.
SG: Around The Greens
The past five winners have ranked 56th, 16th, 23rd, 38th, 19th. A tidy short game is helpful but not the main stat we're looking at here.
Leishman was 1st for putting last year, but the previous four winners all ranked outside the top 25. A lot of players struggle with the POA Annua greens.
On the South Course, 4th, 12th and 15th all play over 480 yards and will pose a challenge. Both par 3's on the back 9 - 11th and 16th - play 225+ yards.
The four par 5's (6th, 9th, 13th and 18th) are all very scoreable but do note the 9th and 13th are over 600 yards. The 2nd is a short par 4 which players will be expecting to birdie.
Fast or Slow Start
We have seen some massive comebacks in recent years here. Leishman 6 back after 36 holes and 4 back after 54. Day was 8 back after 18, and 4 back after 36. Rahm was 7 back after 18 and 5 back after 36. Althought Justin Rose led from round 2 onwards in 2019, all in all this is catch up event.
The 16th is a long par 3, 17th is a scoreable par 4, and the par 5 18th to finish can provide drama with water short and left of the green.
0.75pts EW (1/5, 8 places) Gary Woodland 66/1 @ Betfair
We put up Gary last week and he gave us a good run but ultimately finished 3 shots off a payout . We wrote this about him, "He spoke on a podcast before Christmas about how he was now free of the injuries that had hampered him for most of 2020. Expect Gary to come out firing." He did nothing to put us off going in again, in fact we are surprised to have not seen a bigger price drop. Four top 20's in his last four starts here at Torrey Pines and said he was pain free all week for the first time in a long while. Snap up the 66 at Betfair before it goes.
1pt Each Way (1/5 1-8) Marc Leishman 33/1 @ William Hill
We profited on Marc last year when he cruised past Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm in the final round with a putting exhibition. It was his 5th top 10 since 2010 and he feels extremely comfortable on the tricky POA Annua greens. Marc finished 4th in his last start at the Sony Open and has been talking of how he has got the bad thoughts out of his head over the ball and is feeling confident now. He’s a dangerous player once he gains momentum, one of the best closers in the game and will be relishing a return to Torrey Pines.
1pt Each Way (1/5 1-8) Matthew Wolff 33/1 @ William Hill
We closely looked at Harris English at 22/1 for our second spot however a reflection on the prices led us to side with the youngster. Matt is one place ahead of Harris in the world rankings in 15th spot, which alone is enough to suggest he’s value this week. Add in a 20th place finish here last year and top 5’s at the PGA Championship and US Open – two tough similar major style layouts, and he is cracking value at 33’s. Finished 40th last week which we can forgive as improved as the week went on.
0.75pts Each Way (1/5 1-8) Billy Horschel 45/1 @ William Hill
Billy caught our attention two weeks ago at the Sony Open as he finished 7th – his 2nd top 8 in three starts. He is listed on our player profiles as a player to back when he’s hot. He famously went back to back wins in 2014 to win the FedEx cup. He relishes a tough golf course and has two 8th place finishes here in the last 5 years. He also has a previous win on POA Annua greens so we fancy Billy to roll it well this week.
0.5pts Each Way (1/5 1-8) Talor Gooch 80/1 @ William Hill
Talor was included in our pre-season ‘five to watch’ who could bag their maiden PGA Tour title this year. We mentioned in that article that he enjoys the demands of tough golf courses and he showed that in 2019, finishing 3rd here. That performance was also after a good week at the American Express, like he did last week finishing 21st. He finished 2020 well with a 4th in Houston and a 5th at Shaddow Creek, he can make another step in his career this week.
0.5pts Each Way (1/5 1-7) Carlos Ortiz 100/1 @ Betfred
We feel Carlos has been priced up wrong this week. He ranks 54th in the world and won four starts ago in Houston. He fended off the world number 1 Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama that day so we know he is fearless in contention. Signed off with a 64 two weeks ago at Sony to finish 14th. Missed his last two cuts here but finished 11th in 2015. He has the all round game to deal with the troubles Torrey Pines will throw at him.
0.25pts Each Way (1/5 1-8) Scott Stallings 250/1 @ William Hill
We have focused heavily on 100/1 and under shots this week as there has not been a winner priced over that since Scott Stallings won in 2014. He showed it was no fluke in 2015 as well, finishing 2nd, so this will always be the course Scott fancies himself most on. At first glance, Scott has no form to speak of, however he only missed the cut by 1 shot last week and finished on Friday with a bogey free 67, having hit 15 greens in regulation. He bagged three top 6 finishes after lockdown in 2020 and is a monster price to have another strong showing at Torrey Pines.
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31 January 10.45
Calmer conditions allowed Carlos Ortiz to shoot a brilliant six under par 66 to jump into the joint lead through 54 holes. We put up Carlos at 100/1 before the event and we are hoping he can end our recent run of Sunday disappointments. This will be the fourth consecutive week we've had a pre-event pick inside the top 4 going into the final round on the PGA Tour. Unfortunately, the previous three failed to notch a win so we are hoping Carlos can buck the trend.
Only six players have converted a third round lead at this event in the past 20 years so he will be up against it. However, he was excellent at the Houston Open late last year when holding off Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama. He'll face a similar test today as Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy are all in contention.
Despite Carlos's excellent play, the big news story was the questionable use of rules by Patrick Reed. He had two drops which were suspect at best, and once again there are question marks over his integrity even if PGA Tour rules officials declared themselves happy with his conduct. Unsurprisingly, Reed considered he did nothing wrong.
Reed is the bookies' favourite at 7/2 but he holds little appeal for us. Even excluding his advantageous drops, he had a number of fortunate breaks during the third round and his play was extremely ragged over the back 9.
As we mentioned earlier, winners do have a habit of coming from behind here. Last year's champion, Marc Leishman, was four back at this point. In 2017 and 2018, we saw winners come from three behind. Players can, and often do, come from behind to win with a round to go.
Sunshine, clouds and almost no breeze (max 6mph) will be the conditions for today's final round.
- 2pts VIKTOR HOVLAND 9/1 @ WILLIAM HILL (Win Only)
Viktor was unable to back up his Friday 65 as he slipped back with a one over par 73. Despite yesterday's poor score, he ranks 2nd for Driving Accuracy and 6th for Greens in Regulation. He has momentum after birdies at his final two holes yesterday and undoubtedly has the ability to make plenty of birdies today. He'll need to eliminate the dropped shots which littered his scorecard in Round 3 but we'll forgive that given his play on Friday. He's a two time winner on the PGA Tour in only 37 starts as a pro and is becoming a more rounded player every week. His win at Mayakoba at the end of last year came from off the pace and hopefully those memories will inspire him today.
30 January 10.45
Although there were four seasons in one day, the forecasted heavy rain didn't arrive. Variable conditions saw players deal with sun, wind, rain and even a bit of hail. That allowed Viktor Hovland to shoot a sparkling 65 around the harder South Course and jump to the top of the leaderboard. Hovland will aim to add to his two previous PGA Tour wins this weekend but history will be against him as only two winners have converted from the halfway point in the past 20 years.
It's a leaderboard that is full of quality. Four of the leading seven are in the top 20 in the world with two others in the top 30. Unsurprisingly, we have five players at single figure odds with the bookmakers and past champion Jon Rahm is the 10/3 favourite.
Rahmbo has a great record here with three top fives from four starts. It's hard to think he won't be around the top of the leaderboard come Sunday evening. However, this is an event where strange things can happen and we wouldn't be quick to back him at short odds just yet.
Last year's winner, Marc Leishman, was six back at this point. In 2018, Jason Day was fours behind with 36 holes left. The year before that, Rahm won from five back after two rounds. In summary, it's an event where players can, and often do, come from behind to win.
Sunshine and a gentle breeze (max 9mph) will return to Torrey Pines for the third round. The course will play a little softer after some rain and make a long course even longer.
- 2pts Adam Scott 9/1 @ Skybet (Win Only)
We want to get Adam onside given his renewed focus and determination to add to his number of PGA Tour and Major wins. He spoke yesterday of being happy with his game and of the players in and around the lead he's the one we like the best. He has fond memories of Torrey Pines, having finished 2nd here in 2019 and playing here in the World Junior Golf Championships. He's more than capable of winning this.
- 1pt Each Way Jason Kokrak 50/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
If a player is to come from off the pace, it could well be Jason. He is four behind Viktor Hovland but as we've seen in years gone by, winners often come from a few shots back. He boasts a solid bank of form at Torrey Pines with three top 25s from six starts. He won for the first time last season and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him do so again. As mentioned in our Player Profile, Jason is a player who enjoys a tough test and he's expected to make progress up the leaderboard over the remaining two rounds at the South Course.
29 January 08.00
|Twelve Players Tied||-6|
Patrick Reed and Alex Noren lead the way after day one, both having played the easier North Course. Two players from the South Course (Peter Malnati and Ryan Palmer) managed to join the group at -6 but, as expected, the leaderboard is thus far dominated by players from the North.
Patrick Reed is third favourite in the betting at 7/1, behind Rory McIlroy (11/2) and Jon Rahm (13/2), who played the harder South Course. Rory played well yesterday, shooting 4 under par and ranking 4th SG: Tee to Green. However, he won't enjoy the wind and the rain today and is definitely opposable.
The conditions will undoubtedly affect the second day's play and we're unlikely to see such good scoring. The South Course already ranks as one of the toughest tracks on the PGA Tour, so with a 14mph wind and significant rainfall it will only play tougher. With that in mind, we're looking for players who will be able to handle the elements today.
- 0.5pts Each Way BEAU HOSSLER 150/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
Beau played the easier North Course and put a bogey free 66 on the board. A fine wind player, he'll enjoy the conditions forecast. He finished 9th last year and has fond memories of playing here from his junior days. He had a win and a second at the Junior World Championship and he spoke fondly of Torrey yesterday when he said he "loves it here." Whether he still feels that way after a day of wind and rain remains to be seen but he's worth a play at big odds.
- 0.5pts Each Way ADAM HADWIN 150/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
The 150 on offer with William Hill is unlikely to last long and is a price worth taking whilst it's still around. Adam played the harder South Course yesterday, shooting a solid 3 under par 69. He may be five shots off the overall lead but it is worth noting that only four players shot a better score on the South Course. Although conditions will be tricky, he plays the easier course and should make progress up the leaderboard. He's a player who can win if the opportunity presents itself.