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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2023 Farmers Insurance Open

Jon Rahm PGA DFS lineup picks daily fantasy golf

Hello, folks and welcome back to Horse For The Course! If you are a regular reader of this article, then you probably know that we've been in the Jon Rahm business in 2023. And let me tell ya...business is booming!

We're now two for two on the Spaniard in the new year, as he looked downright dominant en route to his second win in a row at the American Express. It also marked Rahm's fourth win in his last six starts. This week, he'll turn his attention to another golf course on which he's historically thrived in Torrey Pines. Do you think Rahm is one of our Horses for the Farmers Insurance Open? SPOILER ALERT: Yep.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

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2023 Farmers Insurance Open

While the Farmers Insurance Open isn't one of the PGA Tour's 13 "elevated events" this year, you can make the argument that it needs little help to feel like an important tournament. Landing on the schedule after the laid-back vibe of the Hawaiian Swing and sandwiched between a pair of vanilla Pro-Am events, the Farmers sticks out due to the quality of its main host course - Torrey Pines South - and the depth of field that it draws annually.

Though the Pro-Am format is shelved this week, the Farmers does come with its own quirks, as golfers will play one round each on the difficult Torrey Pines South, and the significantly easier Torrey North layout, before a 36-hole cut determines who will spend the weekend fighting it out at Torrey South. Golfers will need to take advantage of their round on the North course while trying to survive on the South.

This event routinely draws a stout field and this year is no different, as half of the OWGR's top-10 players will be in attendance this week. Ball-striking extraordinaire Luke List is your defending Farmers champion. List falls into one of the two categories of players that seem to thrive at the Farmers: terrific ball strikers and short-game specialists, with List fitting in the former category and past Farmers' champs such as Patrick Reed, Jason Day, and Marc Leishman landing in the latter. Notables for the 2023 edition include the white-hot Jon Rahm, last year's Farmers runner-up Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, and Collin Morikawa, who will be making his first start since an epic meltdown in the year's first event.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: Torrey Pines

South Course: Par 72 - 7,765 Yards, Greens: Poa Annua, Designed By: William Bell

North Course: Par 72 - 7,258, Greens: Bent w/ Poa, Designed By: William Bell

While nothing like last week's American Express, we are again faced with rotating courses this week. Over the first two rounds, players will play once on Torrey Pines South and once on Torrey Pines North. Those that make the cut will finish out the weekend on the South course, the more famous and difficult of the two.

The South Course hosted the U.S. Open two years ago if that gives you any indication as to its quality. While we won't see U.S. Open-tough conditions this week, the two courses are vastly different with the North playing much easier than the difficult South.

Players will need to take advantage of their round on the North and survive the South in order to play on the weekend. The cut line is often around even or a few shots over par. Players that make the cut will play both weekend rounds on the South course and it can be brutal. Even with a non-U.S. Open setup it is long and mean with thick rough. The South will test every facet of a player's tee-to-green game. This will send me toward targeting players with complete games rather than a specific strength with an emphasis on golfers that have a history of performing well on tough courses.


Recent Farmers Winners & Scoring Info

  • 2022: Luke List (-15)
  • 2021: Patrick Reed (-14)
  • 2020: Marc Leishman (-15)
  • 2019: Justin Rose (-21)
  • 2018: Jason Day (-10)
  • Average Winning Score Last Five Years: -15
  • Average Cut Line Score Last Five Years: -1.8


The Horse

Jon Rahm

  • Event Scoring Average: 69.29 (Six career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T3 (2022), T7 ('21), 2nd ('20), T5 ('19), Win ('17) *Win ('21 U.S. Open)
  • DraftKings Price:  FanDuel Price: 

No, you are not experiencing deja vu. Yes, this is the third time Jon Rahm has been featured in HFTC this year. I doubt that I'll hear many complaints from readers, as the Spaniard has won both of the other times he was tabbed in this article.

God mode. The ultimate heater. Dominant. Tiger like. Whatever you want to call it, Rahm is the best player in the world right now and the 28-year-old is playing the finest golf of his already-sterling career at the moment. After blitzing the field to win last week at the American Express, Rahmbo has now won back-to-back tournaments and four times in his last six starts. Yeah, Jon Rahm is good at golf.

If his dominant recent form isn't reason enough to like his chances at the Farmers this week, just wait until you get a load of his track record at Torrey Pines. It's crazy good. Most recently, Rahm won the 2021 U.S. Open held at Torrey South and he's been borderline superhuman in other trips to the public course.

He's one of only two players in this week's field with two or more Farmers starts that boasts a sub-70 career scoring average (69.29) and he's gained a startling 48.02 strokes total in this event since 2018, which is the best mark among this week's entrants. The Spaniard is a cumulative 65-under par in the Farmers since 2017.


The Ponies

Tony Finau

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.43 (Eight career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T2 ('21), T6 ('20), T6 ('18), T4 ('17)
  • DraftKings Price:  FanDuel Price: 

If we toss out a missed cut last year at a time when his game was in a funk, Tony Finau has been perfect at the Farmers, making the cut in seven of his eight career starts. Finau has recorded finishes of T6 or better in half of those outings.

His prodigious length off the tee and overall excellence with the driver (fourth in the Farmers field in Good Drives Gained) has allowed Finau to excel at Torrey Pines, as well as other major-championship-caliber venues. Historically, he thrives on challenging layouts such as Torrey and gains an average of 1.16 strokes per round on his competitors at courses considered difficult.

Long known as "Top Five Tony", Finau has shattered the stigma that he can't win tournaments over the last two years by capturing the Northern Trust playoff event to close 2021 before reeling off three more victories since July of last year. In concert with his Torrey track record, this new-found ability to close out tournaments makes Finau one of the most dangerous options on the board this week.

Will Zalatoris

  • Event Scoring Average: 69.70 (Three career starts)
  • Notable Course History: 2nd ('22), T7 ('21)
  • DraftKings Price:  FanDuel Price: 

Sometimes, you just know when a young player is going to feast on a course for his entire career, and Will Zalatoris' fast acclimation to Torrey Pines makes it seem as though the Texan will thrive at the Cali track for years and years to come.

Willie Z dropped a heartbreaking playoff to Luke List in last year's edition of the Farmers. It was just one in a series of "what could have beens" for Zalatoris in 2022, who in addition to his runner-up finish at Torrey, was also forced to settle for second place in both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

The youngster eventually got his first career PGA Tour victory at the FedEx St. Jude in Memphis before an injured back forced him to miss the Tour Championship and the Presidents Cup. He's shown no ill effects of the injury since returning to action at the Sentry TOC, where he recorded a T11 on four rounds of 69 or lower. Zalatoris was again solid, if unspectacular, in another birdie-fest environment at the AmEx, logging a T36 and finishing at 16-under par at La Quinta.

He should find the more rigorous test that Torrey will provide this week far more to his liking than his previous starts of the year. Zalatoris has a scoring average of 69.12 across his last eight rounds at the Farmers, including a third-round 65 in last year's edition that was one of the finest rounds you will ever see on the PGA Tour. He possesses the type of ball-striking prowess (first in field SG: Ball Striking last 50 rounds) that should lead to more success at Torrey Pines.

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Jason Day

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.75 (13 career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T3 ('22), T5 ('19), Win ('18), Win ('15), T2 ('14)
  • DraftKings Price:  FanDuel Price: 

I'm sure my RotoBaller colleague and ardent Jason Day supporter, Spencer Aguiar, will have plenty to say about his man on the site this week, but I'll go ahead and get the love-fest started here, as J-Day arrives to Torrey for this year's edition of the Farmers toting not only an elite tournament resume but also suddenly-resurgent form.

The Aussie is a two-time Farmers champion (2018 & 2014). It's understandable if that seems like ancient history, though we only have to look back to last year to find an impressive T3 result in this event, which indicates that Day's reign at Torrey Pines isn't quite over yet.

In addition to his sterling track record here, the former world No. 1 has flashed some encouraging output of late. Day logged a top-10 and three additional top-25s over his last four starts of 2022, and demonstrated some serious firepower at the AmEx, racking up 23 birdies and an eagle en route to a T18 result in La Quinta. The 35-year-old has turned back the clock from a ball-striking perspective, ranking 10th on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach and ninth in Total Driving for the 2022-23 season.


Ryan Palmer

  • Event Scoring Average: 70.39 (Seven career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T16 ('22), T2 ('21), T21 ('20), T13 ('19), T2 ('18)
  • DraftKings Price:  FanDuel Price: 

Like the aforementioned Day, Ryan Palmer is a grizzled veteran that's shown he still has what it takes to compete on this difficult Torrey Pines layout. The 46-year-old's best golf might be behind him, but Palmer has continued to thrive in this event, as he's notched a pair of runner-up finishes and no result worse than tied for 21st over his last five Farmers starts.

Though he's got a lot of mileage on the tires, Palmer is still surprisingly long off the tee. He averaged just over 305 yards in driving distance last season and closed the year standing 27th on the PGA Tour in SG: OTT. That ability with the driver has served him well at Torrey Pines, as his total strokes gained (+44.63) at the Farmers since 2018 trails only Jon Rahm.

Palmer's recent form hasn't been much to speak of, although he did log a solid T32 in a knock-the-rust-off outing at the Sony Open two weeks ago in which he gained 2.4 strokes T2G. The Texan is the very definition of a course history play this week and is certainly an intriguing salary-saving option on this DFS slate.


Win Big With RotoBaller

Golf is back, and it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller! Our PGA DFS Premium Package features several savvy analysts and proven DFS winners.

Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big.

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