Hideki Matsuyama bringing hot hand to Farmers Insurance Open

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The PGA Tour heads down the California coast this week in its annual stop at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. It will be the first full-field tournament in which the big names will gather to play in 2022, and it also will be the first time the tournament will be held Wednesday through Saturday.

The Tour announced when the schedule was released it would try a Saturday finale, in part to avoid the AFC and NFC Championship games on Sunday, but also to provide a Saturday prime-time finish on the East Coast.

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Torrey Pines also hosted the U.S. Open last year, so while Patrick Reed is the defending champion of the event, Jon Rahm won a tournament on this course in 2021. Rahm is the 7/1 favorite at BetMGM, but Xander Schauffele (18/1), Justin Thomas (14/1) and Dustin Johnson (22/1) aren’t too far behind him. Here are the names I’m looking out for this week at La Jolla:

Best buys

Hideki Matsuyama (18/1)

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Hideki Matsuyama

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The winner of the 2022 Sony Open will come in hot, having won two of his last three Tour events. He has all the confidence in the world and will roll into an event in which he has posted some solid results in the past.

Hideki gained more than seven shots on the field, tee to green, at the Sony Open and seven more putting during that event. That certainly is a recipe for winning, and while it may seem unlikely that he can repeat that feat on the greens during this event, he has actually gained six or more strokes with his putter at the Farmers twice.

Francesco Molinari (66/1)

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Francesco Molinari

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I did not expect to be writing up Francesco Molinari this early in 2022, but here we are. He had a great finish to his week at The American Express to close out a T-6, and he is someone who has always loved Torrey Pines. Even in his off-year of 2021, he still posted a 13th-place finish at last year’s U.S. Open.

Molinari put himself in contention during the middle of his final round on Sunday at the Stadium Course, as he gained better than two strokes on the field with his ball-striking. As usual, his putter left a few chances out there, but it was certainly a great debut for the 2018 Champion Golfer of the Year. As I mentioned, he had a good finish at the U.S. Open last year, but he also put together a top-10 during this tournament last January. He is the name I am looking for to provide some value to my card.

Justin Rose (66/1)

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Justin Rose

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Another player who showed he may be ready for a solid 2022. He closed the final round on Sunday with a 3-under 69, after posting a 67 on Saturday to sneak inside the cut line. He is another player who has historically loved playing Torrey Pines, with a win and two top-10 finishes in three of his last four trips to this tournament. He didn’t have the same success as my other two picks during the more difficult setup of last year’s major, but I won’t let that deter me from having some interest in the Englishman.

We saw Rose open at 55/1 last week at The American Express in a smaller field, and we got better than that at open for the Farmers. He’s a player who can get hot with his game at times, and I like the way he bounced back from a tough Friday to close with a couple of strong rounds over the weekend in La Quinta.

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