Farmers Insurance Open Round 2 Preview: Expect Jordan Spieth and Others on the North Course to Have Big Days

Farmers Insurance Open Round 2 Preview: Expect Jordan Spieth and Others on the North Course to Have Big Days article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spieth.

I’d like to start off with a special shoutout to Keegan Bradley, who kept me from being completely wrong on Thursday.

Instead, I was only half-wrong.

In both my weekly preview and during a segment on our daily Action Network show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, I suggested that it would be unwise for anyone making a First Round Leader wager for the Farmers Insurance Open to consider any player competing on Torrey Pines’ notoriously more difficult South Course on the opening day.

Silly me, I didn’t foresee Sebastian Cappelen turning into some combination of Ben Crenshaw and Steve Stricker.

Cappelen putted lights out on the South to post a strong 6-under 66, which held the outright lead for a while on Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t until Bradley birdied his penultimate hole on the North Course to ultimately share the overnight lead that I was given some level of reprieve from my earlier statement, at the very least having a player on the easier track split the money.

I won’t be adding any players to the card until after everyone in the field has played both courses and a cut is made once the second round is over on Friday afternoon. If you’re either playing a single-round DFS slate or otherwise just keeping an eye out for some guys who could go low, I’d again suggest focusing on those playing the North Course, which was eight of the top-10 and 16 of the top-20 in the first round.

In these types of situations, I’d also stick with the players who liked pre-tourney.

If you spent three days believing a certain player was worth of selection, don’t write him off after one mediocre round on the tougher course.

Among those playing the North Course on Friday whom I believe can post a low one: Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele in the top tier; Harris English, Ryan Palmer and Gary Woodland in the mid-tier; and Maverick McNealy, Patrick Rodgers and J.J. Spaun in the lower-tier.

Sure, somebody else could pull a Cappelen and go uncommonly low on the South Course, but the numbers suggest we should continue to expect those better scores on the less penal track.

Round 2 Matchup

Jordan Spieth over Jason Day

In his first round of the year, Spieth showed us something, posting five birdies and three bogeys for a 2-under 70 on the South Course.

This is an important year for Spieth, who is dealing with both internal and external pressure after failing to live up to the expectations he created for himself so early in his career.

Playing the North Course on Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him somewhere in the range of a 68 or so, getting into contention heading into the weekend.

Even though these courses probably set up better for Day when each is at 100%, the two-time champion here lowered any potential expectations for himself before this event even started. Speaking in detail of issues with his back and ribcage, which forced him to miss the recent Presidents Cup, he said Tuesday, “I’m coming off eight weeks of rehab and very little practice, so am I expecting a lot? I don’t know. We’ve just got to go in there and see how it goes.”

One of these guys is playing offense, the other is playing defense.

I know which one I’d rather have my money on Friday.

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