Farmers Insurance Round 3 Odds & Picks: Back Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas
Pictured: Jon Rahm. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The first two days of the Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines were a wild ride as low scores from the opening round were quickly put to a halt as winds wreaked havoc on the field. Most notably, one popular pretournament pick, Will Zalatoris, is heading home after a missed cut before the third round.
However, you’d never know conditions were tough if you were simply watching the leaders. Sam Ryder blitzed his way to the low round of the day in each of the first two rounds. His 4-under 68 on the South Course Thursday was nothing short of remarkable. Ryder’s playing partner, Brendan Steele, shot equally well to get to 9-under through the first two rounds, but will start Round 3 with a three-shot deficit.
While the leaders should be feeling great about themselves, this is a tournament where we often see players come from behind to contend. Last year’s winner, Luke List, was five shots back of the lead to start the final round before winning in a playoff. In fact, five of the past seven winners have had to come from behind in Round 4, opening us up to take a shot at the chasers as we head into the third round. I won’t be leaning on the strokes gained data tonight because of the split courses (only the South provides data). However, we’ll still seek out value.
Best Buys for Round 3
This is a tournament where we see the cream rise to the top more often than not. Typically it is world class ball strikers who find their way into contention for the final round and that is where my target will be going into Round 3. We can also look to take advantage of the lack of winning experience at the top as both Ryder and Estanislao Goya seek their maiden victories, while Steele looks for his first win since 2018.
I really have to start this piece with the hottest golfer in the world, Jon Rahm. He is red hot off of consecutive wins to start his 2023 and when we add in his love for Torrey Pines, he immediately becomes the name everyone will be watching throughout the next two rounds. Rahm sits at +700 despite an eight-shot deficit between himself and Ryder. I don’t think we have to get too caught up in that at this stage though as we are simply looking for a low round to get the Spaniard closer to contention. I really love the momentum Rahm built closing out his day on the North Course as he went five under in his final five holes to get to his current position. I expect him to come out firing for a low round on Friday and to put himself in contention for the win going into Saturday.
Another big name at much longer odds is Justin Thomas. He had worked his way up to 6-under during his Thursday round, but slipped all the way back to 2-under before the end of the day. Still, he is a player I always love in chasing position — especially when he is a ways off the lead — because we get good value and he can go really low at any given time. He did that most notably in his third round at The Players in 2021 and that 9-under round led to a Sunday victory for him at TPC Sawgrass. Thomas is someone I will take a shot on at +6000 on Caesars as a low round and a little help can shrink that 10-shot deficit in a hurry.
I took a heavy stance on Ryan Palmer in DFS this week as he always seems to show up at this event. It wasn’t an easy follow as he started both rounds with bogeys, but he fought back each time. If he can get off to a better start on Friday, he has a great chance to get into position for a nice finish. I’m not quite bullish enough to take a shot on him to win, but he’ll be a name I will be shopping in top-10 markets when they open before the third round.
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