Emergency 9: Fantasy advice for Farmers Insurance Open
Here are nine tidbits from the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open that gamers can use tomorrow or down the road.
Be looking for the Emergency 9 shortly after the close of play of each round of the tournament.
Can’t Ignore Him
For the second year in a row an international player is looking to win the Farmers Insurance Open as Sweden’s Alex Noren holds the 54-hole lead at 11-under-par. Noren will try and join Jon Rahm as consecutive international winners that win on their maiden voyage in the event. Before last year, Arnold Palmer (1957) was the last player to do this. Before last year, Jay Don Blake was the first player to make the Farmers Insurance Open their maiden PGA TOUR win since 1991. Noren admitted on television after the round he’s nervous but he didn’t get to be No. 19 in the Official World Golf Ranking by accident. He’s won five times in his last 46 events worldwide.
San Diego Charger
Torrey Pines High School alum and native San Diegan Michael Kim sits two back of Noren. I’m not sure if any gamers had him marked for the low Southern California player after 54 holes but he’s earned his spot. He sits in the top five in fairways, proximity to the hole and SG: Putting on the South Course this week. Pro gamers will remember that Kim sat two shots off the 54-hole lead in 2016 but shot 80 in the difficult conditions on the Monday finish. I’m encouraged to see what he learned from that tomorrow.
Upon Further Inspection
J.B. Holmes carded the lowest round of the week on the South Course with a 65 on moving day. His first nine he played in even-par 36 but he made seven birdies on the front nine, coming home in 29. He leapt 44 places to T3 and will play with Michael Kim in the penultimate group Sunday. Holmes is looking to extend his top-10 streak to three in four years with another solid round tomorrow. He also has some unfinished business as he played in the final group in 2015 but his 72 was only good enough to join a four-man playoff that Jason Day eventually won.
Moving Day: Up
Gamers were on edge after Thursday as Gary Woodland opened with 74 on the North Course. It’s absolutely no secret that Woodland prefers the South Course and he’s embraced the challenge the last two rounds. His 68 with four bogeys on Friday saw him jump 78 spots to T47. His round of 66 on Saturday, that included just one bogey, moved him up 42 more to T5. He is also in the “almost” club here. The big hitter was the 54-hole leader in 2014 but his 74 on Sunday saw him fade to T10.
Moving Day: Down
Jon Rahm played his final eight holes in 3-over-par to limp home in 38. He dropped 10 spots to T12 but I would suggest he will be ultra-focused tomorrow. Last year he shot a 65 on Sunday which included two eagles on his final eight holes. Gamers who loaded up on him in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO (third-most selected) and PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO (most selected) will be hoping for a repeat performance.
Get carried away! In Study Hall last week I pointed out that C.T. Pan tweeted that he had the flu and that was part of his issue missing the cut at the CareerBuilder Challenge. He put all four rounds at 70 or better here last year as a rookie and finished T2. In his second event here he has also posted all rounds at 70 or better, including a 68 on Saturday that moved him up 18 spots to T5. He’s not long (T68 driving distance) but he’s 6 under on the South Course and has only made three bogeys.
Eye on the Tiger
Have you seen enough from Tiger Woods in three rounds to make up your mind for future events? I haven’t and that’s just fine. As I opined earlier in the week, this week was going to be a different test. It’s not a resort course with minimal rough and a small field. He’s accounted himself well this week as he’s grinding out scores on a course where par is a decent score. His ball-striking leaves plenty of questions so I’ll let him figure that out before I include him.
‘Siri, Where’s Suri?’
Each week Rob Bolton publishes his Sleeper Picks and each Saturday I take a look at a few who caught my eye. Julian Suri opened with a 68 on the South Course but only made ONE birdie combined in Rounds 2 and 3. He sits No. 62 in the OWGR on the back of rattling off four top-10 finishes in his last five on the European Tour. … If you jumped on the Corey Conners train because of his streak of cashing in seven consecutive events, you were rewarded again. The young bomber made it eight in a row and sits T17 after three rounds of par or better. He’s a very good driver of the golf ball but he’s T1 in GIR after 54 holes.
After his MC last week at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, World No. 60 Haotong Li is the 54-hole leader at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on 20-under-par. Rory McIlroy will play in the final group with the 22-year old Chinese budding star Sunday. … J.J. Henry shot a 59 at The Tradition Golf Course in La Quinta Monday. He’s currently T31. Hot golf is hot golf. … Sitting at T44, Hideki Matsuyama will need a low one tomorrow to best his T16 finish in his maiden voyage in 2014. The last three years have resulted in MC, MC and T33 last year. He’ll be the favorite regardless next week at TPC Scottsdale as he has won the last two at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. … Tom Lovelady began Saturday inside the top 10 but dropped to T25 after a 73. He’s been given a sponsor exemption for next week. Eyes open!