The sights of Torrey Pines and sounds of Jim Nantz often signal the true start of the golf season to many fans.
Thankfully, the premiere players in the Farmers Insurance Open field showed up to give us an interesting final round at Torrey Pines. With the NFL Conference Championship games on Sunday, the PGA Tour has elected for the Farmers Insurance Open to run from Wednesday through Saturday the last two years.
Tournament Recap Through First Three Rounds
For the second week in a row, Jon Rahm is inevitable. That wasn’t the case after the first round. Rahm’s first-round 73 on the North Course placed him well behind the field on the easier of the two tracks. Through much of the day on Thursday, it looked like Rahm would be fighting the cut on his final nine holes. Instead, the Spaniard made three birdies and an eagle coming home on the South Course to get himself well in contention.
He continued to catch fire on the South Course on Friday and is now the closest man to Sam Ryder at just two shots back going into the final round. Ryder has held at least a share of the lead through all three rounds as he looks for his first PGA Tour win.
Ryder has had a solid enough career in his sixth season on the PGA Tour. He’s long been a very strong iron player but tends to struggle with the driver and other areas. Ryder has been solid in all facets of the game this week and will look to fend off a terrifying leaderboard on Saturday.
Behind Rahm in solo second includes Tony Finau, Sungjae Im, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Sahith Theegala. That gauntlet of big names is all within five shots of the lead on a course that can spit out some big numbers at any moment. Finau (64) and Im (67) were two of the highlights in the third round on the South Course and would surely get in the mix if they can shoot those numbers again.
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Final Round PGA TOUR Golf Bets To Consider
Winner: Tony Finau
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Before you assume this is some attempt to fade the obvious or popular play, I’ll remind you that I was high on Rahm’s chances and odds going into the final round of both the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express. He came from behind to win Sentry and then held off Davis Thompson at The American Express. The difference this week is Rahm is barely getting plus odds while two behind the lead and only two or three shots ahead of a strong group of players.
Even for the seemingly untouchable Rahm, winning is hard. It’s incredibly rare to win three starts in a row on the PGA Tour. Rahm’s driver got a little shaky late in the third round, and I can’t help but feel like he may be putting a lot of pressure on himself to get this accomplishment done.
I’ll instead choose to pivot to the man who shot the round of the day on Friday in Tony Finau. He shot 64 to get to solo third and is getting a bit disrespected with his odds compared to Rahm’s. DataGolf has Rahm less than four times as likely to win than Finau, making the odds difference worth it. Finau is eighth in SG: Off the Tee, third in SG: Approach and first in SG: Tee-to-Green this week on the South Course.
Finau was also arguably the best player on the planet to end the year when he won three times in a short stretch. His improved putting makes him a real threat when he’s hitting it like this, and I’ll take these juicy odds over Rahm doing the unthinkable at near-evens.
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Top-Five Finish: Sungjae Im
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Sitting in a tie for fourth heading into the final round, I like the dependable Im to hold his ground and finish in the top five. Im should really be much closer to the lead, as he’s fired a 68 and 67 on the South Course this week, but he dropped off with a 74 on the easier North Course.
DataGolf has Im at a 45 percent chance to log that top five, so we’re getting a decent number here. The level of talent behind the main pool of guys in contention drops off heavily, so we likely won’t need Im to do a whole lot to stay in his spot in the final round.
Im ranks fifth in SG: Approach, second in SG: Around the Green and eighth in SG: Putting this week on the South Course. Interestingly enough, Im is 59th in SG: Off the Tee, which is usually his strong suit on Tour. It’s reasonable to think he gets the driver going again in the final round and plays well.
Top-10 Finish: Rickie Fowler
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Like Im, Fowler also already sits inside the position we’re betting on him for, as he jumped 45 spots on Friday with a third-round 67 to get in a tie for ninth. Fowler has continued to show signs of life as of late, and it does feel like he’s closer than he’s been in a couple of years to get back to a relevant player on the PGA Tour.
Fowler logged a sixth at Fortinet and second at ZOZO in the fall, and his numbers look great this week. He’s sixth in SG: Ball Striking on the South Course. DataGolf gives Fowler around a 40 percent chance for the top 10, making the odds juicy enough. Fowler had a handful of solid finishes at Torrey Pines early in his career, so it’s certainly a place he can feel comfortable at.
Farmers Insurance Open Odds
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