Who's going to claim the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open? Oddschecker's Tom Jacobs has four picks to win in California
Scroll down to see my 2023 Farmers Insurance Open betting picks, but first…
Farmers Insurance Open
Venue: Torrey Pines, California, USA
Date: January 25–28, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,698 yards (South); Par 72; 7,258 yards (North)
Course summary: As usual, the North and South courses will alternate for the opening two rounds, while both the third and final rounds will take place on the South. Ranking as one of the toughest on the PGA Tour, the South has tight Kikuyu fairways and penal rough. In contrast, the North plays much shorter and often easier. One of the main differences between the two courses is the putting surface, with Poa Annua on the South and Bentgrass on the North. Accuracy on approach to the putting surfaces is a non-negotiable this week, so look out for the top ball strikers in the game to be toward the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Purse: $8.7 million
2022 champion: Luke List (-15)
Wednesday: Sky Sports Golf from 5:30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10:15pm
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 5:30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 5:30pm Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm
2023 Farmers Insurance Open betting tips
Maverick McNealy is an extremely talented golfer yet to break through on the PGA Tour, but when it does happen, it may very well be in California.
His two runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour came at the Fortinet Championship and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, both California events. Another top 5 at Pebble Beach and a 7th at Riviera once again strengthen the California link for McNealy, as do his previous efforts here.
McNealy finished 29th on debut here, never breaking 70 on the week at either course, but never shooting worse than 72. Jump forward two years, and he improves on that finish with a 16th place effort. He got off to a slow start that week (71-71) but he closed the week with a pair of 69’s on the South Course, which was one of the better weekend efforts, and then just last year when 30th, he shot a Saturday 67 at the South Course, to sit 8th going into Sunday.
It is rare for a player to show his best stuff at the South throughout the week, and he will need to take advantage of the North this week, where rounds of 62 are possible, in order to seriously contend. I think he is more than capable of that though, given his current form, which has seen him finish T27 or better in all six starts, since missing the cut at the Fortinet, to start the season.
Three top 10’s already this season, including a T7 last time out at the Sony Open, it is time for the Stanford graduate and California native to step up and get a win at this level.
The Each-Way Play: Justin Rose @ 50/1 with Bet365
There are two former World No 1’s and winners of this event that I considered this week, but I will give Justin Rose the edge over Jason Day at double the odds.
Rose is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and while he looked a perfect candidate for a certain other series, Rose has seemingly pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour in the hope of qualifying for the major championships.
The Englishman, with plenty of motivation behind him, now comes to an event which he won and posted three more top 8 finishes in his last five starts.
Rose posted three rounds of 67 or better last week and closed the event with a strong 65 at the American Express. The scoring at this event is much more suited to his game, and it would make a lot of sense if Rose was to get his first PGA Tour win in three years at the site of his last one!
The Each-Way Play: JJ Spaun @ 50/1 with Bet365
JJ Spaun is playing some of the best golf of his career which has been the case almost ever since he won the Valero Texas Open last April and gained a last-minute invite to Augusta.
Not to rest on his laurels, Spaun posted three 15th place finishes before the Christmas break, and then added finishes of 5th and 12th in Hawaii, to kick off 2023. He will now look to carry on that hot start in the part of the world and on a golf course that he knows well.
The former San Diego State University golfer has played this event seven times, making four cuts, and posting a 9th place finish on his debut. Now, he returns to this event for the first time as a PGA Tour winner and can build on past success here.
Spaun is not the longest, so would have to limit his mistakes all week to stand a chance of competing, but the good news is he has ranked 5th in strokes gained tee-to-green in back-to-back starts and 21st and 10th in strokes gained approach respectively. Given this level of form tee to green, and his comfort level at Torrey Pines, Spaun appeals as a good each way bet.
The Long Shot: Robby Shelton @ 125/1 with Bet365
Robby Shelton struggled in his first year on the PGA Tour back in 2020, but he is back this time with a vengeance after finishing out another two-win season on the Korn Ferry Tour. To win twice in both 2019 and 2022 suggests there is something about Shelton, especially as he is still just 27, and I think this Alabama graduate can step up and win on the PGA Tour as well now.
Shelton has played this event twice before, finishing 36th and 16th in two starts, and while the latter was largely down to a second-round 64 at the North Course, I think he has seen the South Course enough now to score well on it, in his current form.
He has yet to suffer a disaster round at Torrey Pines yet, failing to break 70 at the South so far in his career, but also shooting no worse than 73.
Shelton’s current form is plenty good enough to threaten the top of the leaderboard this week at big odds, as his 6th place finish last week was his third top-15 of the season, adding to his 10th at the RSM Classic, and his 15th at the Shriners.
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