Winning Share: $1, 098, 000
After two successive solo 2nd places for us in the shape of Chris Kirk and Ryan Palmer, the time must be now for us to finally get a winner in 2014. Nobody can argue with Patrick Reed winning last week at the Humana Challenge with three opening rounds of 63! And he showed great nerve on the final few holes not to lose his bottle.
Onto this week and we’re afraid to say this is Tiger Country. Woods has won on Torrey Pines no less than 8 times and even second favourite Phil Mickelson has won 3 times in his hometown. But we have to look at this positively and see that Woods being their increases the odds of everyone else, meaning there is a lot of value to be had further down the field.
The tournament is slightly different as all of the field have to play one of their first two rounds on the North Course, before playing the other three on the South course of Torrey Pines. The par 72 North course is shorter, at 6,874 yards, and relatively easy with four par 5’s. The fairways are narrow but greens are huge and birdies are a must on the one day players have on this track. The South course is a much tougher test at just over 7,600 yards and long, straight driving will be crucial over the course of the week. A lot more hazards will be found on the South course as well, meaning accuracy to the greens is crucial. The course is located next to the Pacific Ocean meaning the winds could get up and make scoring a lot more difficult. It also hosted the 2008 US Open which shows the difficulty of the track. Tiger obviously won that.
Marc Leishman (50/1 Various)
We’ve got a couple of guys below Leishman at lower odds but such is our passion for him this week, we’ve decided to give him our number one slot. He has been slowly but surely asserting himself was one of the top boys on the PGA Tour and comes into this week in fine form. His last outing saw him finish T5 at the Sony Open and but for a poor third day, would certainly have challenged, with his game looking very promising. Torrey Pines is a place where he has already finished runner-up in 2010 to Ben Crane by a shot and then 9th the year after.
Statistically we’re looking at someone who currently ranks 1st in strokes gained-putting and averages 300 yards off the tee. The South course will prove to be a tricky test but after seeing the Australian finish T4 on Augusta last year, he has what it takes. And at great value too.
Jason Day (35/1 BetVictor)
We are backing Day to have a massive year in 2014, and Torrey Pines will be a great place to start. The course if we are honest has the Australian written all over it (And Woods of course) with his long, straight hitting and GIR consistency. He has firmly asserted himself as one of the top players in the world but just needs to prove it by winning some silverware! He recorded a very solid 9th place last year after a relatively poor first three tries around Torrey Pines, which shows he’s getting to grips with the place.
He finished off 2013 in great fashion recording T25, T13, T4 and T14 in the Fed-Ex Play Off events. And then went on to win the World Cup of Golf alongside Adam Scott. 2013 also proved to be fruitful in the majors as he achieved the tied lowest cumulative score over all four majors. Pretty impressive. But Jason will know 2014 needs to be a big one and Torrey Pines is somewhere he can thrive.
Hunter Mahan (45/1 Stan James)
We really enjoyed Mahan in 2013, his iron play was back to its ultimate best and he played consistent throughout the year. As we have said, the South course is a very tricky layout and someone who enjoys picking courses apart like Mahan will thrive. Not to mention his consistency off the tee. 25th in both driving accuracy and GIR for 2013 is not bad.
Ironically Mahan’s end was eerily similar to Day’s as his Fed-Ex play-off finishes were: T25, T13, T4 and T20. And you have to throw in the Presidents Cup victory for the American too. And we can’t forget the birth of his child during the Canadian Open where after two rounds he was comfortably leading but withdrew to be at the side of his wife. He has also recorded two top 10’s in his last three appearances at Torrey Pines. Could certainly feature this week.
Ryo Ishikawa (150/1 Stan James)
It seems like Ishikawa is somewhat of a forgotten person at the moment. At only 22 years of age the man for Japan still has the golfing world at his feet. After a really solid start to his career which included 10 victories on the Japan Golf Tour, Ishikawa found the going tough on the PGA Tour, recording only 1 top 10 in 2013 and missing 10 cuts.
But after a move to Vegas, Ishikawa has said he is adapting to life well in America and this is showing through his golf. He has finished T2 at the Shriners Hospital Open, T5 at the World Cup of Golf and then T25 last week. Ryo missed the cut at last year’s Humana Challenge, so things are definitely on the up. He recorded a 13th place at Torrey Pines in 2012 which again shows he has what it takes. Statistically he ticks all the boxes as well. 9th driving distance, 4th GIR and 5th proximity to the hole. 2014 has the makings of a breakthrough year for him on the Tour and he can certainly challenge this week.
Luke Guthrie (100/1 Coral)
The American is another young golfer that we really like the look of. The 23 year old certainly came to our attention when we backed him in his first ever European Tour event at the BMW Masters last year. After leading for the first three days he was eventually overhauled by Fernandez-Castano, but for him to come over to Europe in a completely different environment shows this lad has confidence and the talent to back it up.
His game could suit this course nicely, being relatively long and accurate off the tee. He finished T21 here last year on his first ever try at Torrey Pines and comes here after finishing T18 last week shooting four solid rounds in the 60s. He has already got a top 5 to his name this season at the Shriners Hospital Open. So at three-figure odds, he could be a very good bet.
Kyle Stanley (225/1 Stan James)
It would be rude not to lump a few pennies on Kyle Stanley at those sorts of odds. He is someone who again impressed us in 2013, recorded two 3rd places in the process. And he can hit a ball too, averaging 306 yards off the tee and ranking 6th in distance for 2014. He enjoys tough tracks with one of those 3rd places being at the Memorial Tournament and on his day has the game for Torrey Pines. His 2nd place in 2012 certainly proves this! This is a bet that really does interest us this week.