2023 Farmers Insurance Open Round 3 Picks: Target Brendan Steele in Head-To-Head Play

2023 Farmers Insurance Open Round 3 Picks: Target Brendan Steele in Head-To-Head Play article feature image

Pictured: Brendan Steele. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Was anyone else surprised the cut managed to find its way to even par when all was said and done? My model, pre-event, seemed to believe we might veer into the one-over range with the projected wind, but that was not the case after some strong efforts down the stretch from golfers who took advantage of their par-five chances for the day, even though gusts, as expected, arrived at 30+ mph.

I decided to run a model that took 75% pre-tournament statistical exposure from my data and merged it with 25% performance-centric outputs for the two rounds at Torrey Pines to figure out who my sheet believed the most unexpected failures of the week were. These were the 10 names it found most surprising.

When we glance at that data, I don't believe we had any egregious errors this week with what my model projected versus what we got from an execution standpoint. Technically, Will Zalatoris was a negative-EV play in all iterations of the market, especially when looking at his widespread ownership totals for a site like DraftKings. That led me to avoid him in all game types.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as lucky when it came to Hayden Buckley and Patrick Rodgers, who provided some of the most extreme outcomes Thursday for all the wrong reasons. Buckley imploded with an eight-over mark on the lengthy South, making no birdies and losing 4.806 strokes with his putter.

On the other hand, Rodgers didn't fare much better with a five-over 77 — culminating with a laughable two-over mark during the final three holes, where he missed a seven-footer on 18 that would have gotten him to the weekend.

Sometimes you can't avoid those situations in a volatile sport like golf, but if you were wondering who the highest projected missed-cut players were this week when running pre-event projections on my model, here were the 10 names my sheet believed would carry the most exposure from the general public.

If you aren't doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

Round Three Head-To-Head Play

Brendan Steele -120 over Sam Ryder (Bet365)

This is not a wager I will be tracking as one of my "official recommendations," but I can almost guarantee you it is a bet we will see altered price-wise before these two golfers hit a shot in round three.

Most offshore markets have already shifted Steele out into the -150 range in this exact matchup, and it's easy to understand what bettors are seeing when they compare both parties.

Ryder was a boom-or-bust candidate for me pre-tournament, and his four missed cuts in five tries since the Bermuda Championship highlighted a player with some decent upside when I only looked into the stats. However, the floor outcome was lower than the bottom of a bunker — one he probably wouldn't have been able to get himself out of since he entered the week ranked 128th in sand save percentage.

In fairness, the expected weighted proximity and three-putt percentage told a different story of the potential we have encountered early this week. Still, it's hard for me to imagine that a golfer still looking for his first win on Tour can keep up the scorching pace he has exhibited early.

When we combine off-the-tee and around-the-green totals, the red flags of ranking 104th will generate a scary output of what happens if things go south.

Remember, closing line value is real! The more often you beat the final number, the better you should expect your ROI to be long-term.

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