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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Farmers Insurance Open - Round 1

Round 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open is in the books, and it was a busy day at Torrey Pines. It started with the surprising withdrawal of Bubba Watson due to flu-like symptoms. If that presented a problem for your fantasy plans, you weren't alone. Maybe I missed it, but as much as Bubba tweets it would have been nice for a Wednesday night heads up that he was struggling!

I always take a first round, and even a 36-hole, leaderboard with a grain of salt. This isn't unique to me, but I subscribe to the theory that a tournament can't be won in the first round. It can be lost. It's also common to refer to the third round of a tournament as "moving day," but I have my own name for each day. It's a little corny, but on days like today I remind myself of those days. Today was "don't shoot yourself out of the tournament day." The second round is "positioning day" and the final day is "money day." At least in my book.

I go into that tangent on what each day means because it's particularly relevant when you have a split-venue tournament. Eight of the top 10 played the North Course. You don't learn much from a guy who shot a 4-under-par 68 on the North today, other than he kept pace with his wave of players. You also can't panic about a guy that shot a 73 on the South Course today, because tomorrow could bring a 64 on the North.

That's a verbose way of saying that we don't know all that much about this tournament yet. Here's what we think we know:

  • It's about to become a trend that Rickie Fowler can't play with Tiger Woods. He was one of three 77s today (all on the South) and is tied for dead last. Today's round forces you to go back and take another look at his 2012. Case in point, he entered the final round of the Memorial in the penultimate group paired with Tiger Woods after going T10, win, T2, T5 in his previous four tournaments and posted an 84. In retrospect, it may not have been the weight of the Ryder Cup that spoiled the second half of his season, but the haunting of that round. He would probably need a 65 to make the cut tomorrow, but he really has to shoot at least a 68 just to prove to himself that he belongs on the same course as TW. This also means we may have to start looking at Fowler's first and second round pairings before making a decision on his usage each week.
  • Mike Weir is a story to watch. His 66 was on the North Course, but he's playing the best he has in years of late. That's not saying much.
  • Charles Howell III and Scott Stallings both seem to be recovering nicely from their missed opportunity at Humana, opening one off the lead at 6-under.
  • Tiger (4-under) proved once again that he is a must-play on courses where he has some serious history, regardless of what his form the week before tells you. 
  • There is a quietly strong group of players who posted 3-under 69s on the South Course. A couple of these guys will probably fire 66s tomorrow and find themselves with a late tee time on Saturday. They include Lucas Glover, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas and John Senden. Joining Woods at 4-under on the South is Luke Guthrie. 
  • Play your guys on the North in the Yahoo! format.
  • Scott Langley had the highest round on the North Course with a 76. That's a good lesson in not making too big of a deal about one great week.
  • Not a great 72 for Lefty on the North.

The weather has proven unpredictable, so it's hard to pinpoint what a good score will be tomorrow. That said, I'd love anyone who gets to 8-under's chances on the weekend. I envision the lead being around 10 or 11-under and the cut hovering between 2 and 3-under. 

That's all for now.

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