Emergency 9: Fantasy advice following the Farmers Insurance Open
Pick Your Horse
Keegan Bradley followed his T4 from last year with fifth-place earnings this year. I don’t know what the rules on #NappyFactor might but he cashed solo second at the CIMB Classic a month before his son was born in November and adds another nice check this week. … J.B. Holmes made a business decision that took, er, some time on Sunday afternoon. On the final hole, trailing by two, he eventually decided to lay up. He eventually circled a birdie for solo fourth. This was his third top six in the last four years. … Charles Howell III posted one of the two rounds in the 60’s today (69) to claim his eighth top-10 finish in 16 tries. He’s never missed a weekend in those 16 years. Remarkable.
It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over
The other round in the 60’s on Sunday went to Hideki Matsuyama. His 69 matched Howell’s and moved him up 32 places to T12, his best finish in five tries. The Japanese star never threatened and the key to his success this week was his PUTTER?!?! He hit it all over the shop tee-to-green but when he found the putting surface he cashed in. He was T9 in putts per GIR. I won’t have to remind you he’s the two-time defending champion next week.
Out of the Woods
If more proof is needed that driving the golf ball accurately isn’t a requirement at Torrey Pines, please look no further. Tiger Woods has never driven the ball this poorly in an event. The large cat hit just 30.4 percent of the fairways this week but still beat Jon Rahm and finished inside the top 25 (T23). Imagine if he hit a few! He’s back at Riviera in a few weeks so gamers will have time to digest and over-analyze this week. Just how we like it!
Harris English went three places better on the leaderboard this week with T8. He adds another top 10 to his playoff loss in 2015 and makes it six out of six at Torrey Pines. … Tom Hoge collected T12 after leading the South Course in SG: Tee-to-Green for the week. He’s now cashed in seven of eight starts this season and half have gone for top 25’s. … Brandon Harkins is a native Californian and is racking up the FedExCup points and cash in his home state. He opened the year T9 at the Safeway Open in Napa Valley. Last week he went one better with a T8 at the CareerBuilder Challenge. His T12 this week adds to the pile of top-25 finishes, six in eight events, this season.
So Close Yet So Far
Jon Rahm was a 7-4 favorite to win the tournament after 36 holes. The defending champion posted 75-77 on the weekend and couldn’t recreate his 65 from Sunday last year. … Michael Kim now has closing rounds of 80 in 2016 and 78 in 2018 when beginning the final round in touching distance of the lead. He began the day T3 and ended T23. … C.T. Pan went one better and signed for 79 to drop from T5 to T35. … Beau Hossler matched Pan’s 79 and matched his drop from T5 to T35. Hossler had a tough round last Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to stall out but he keeps putting himself into position. … The Hunter Mahan experience continues to be a wait-and-see affair. Maybe I jinxed him after including him in Friday’s column. I try and only use my powers for good! He fired 78-79 on the weekend. He’ll be worth a look at TPC Scottsdale for those who love a long shot. More on that in The Confidence Factor on Tuesday!
Haotong Li played in the final group with Rory McIlroy Sunday at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The 23-year old budding star from China matched him shot-for-shot until he birdied the final two holes to win by one. They both shot 69 but Li’s one-shot lead after 54 holes held up. He becomes the first Chinese player to enter the OWGR top 50. … Tommy Fleetwood bags his fourth top-10 finish in a row and fifth in his last six events. …Byeong Hun An played his final three rounds 16-under-par to finish T6. An was in the mix at TPC Scottsdale last year before 73 on Sunday saw him end up sixth. … Ricky Barnes tweeted that he’s received a sponsor’s exemption for the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week. Barnes was T20 at CareerBuilder two weeks ago.