Farmers Insurance Open Recap

Patrick Reed stands on the South Course while holding his trophy for winning the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Patrick Reed cruised to his ninth career win on Sunday, a five-shot victory over a quintet of players at the Farmers Insurance Open. The former Masters champion shot a final-round 4-under-par 68 on the South Course at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, to finish with a 14-under-par score of 274.

The 30-year-old who resides in The Woodlands, Texas, used a masterful short game to navigate the difficult layout that will host the U.S. Open later this year. Reed had a difficult time finding fairways and greens in the final two rounds but was able to hit great chip shots and sink putts when he had to.

Start To Finish

Reed became the first Farmers Open first-round leader to go on and win the tournament since George Burns in 1987. While that might seem to be astonishing, the Farmers’ unique format is part of the reason. 

The tournament is contested over two golf courses on Thursday and Friday, with play exclusively on the South for the final two rounds.

The North Course at Torrey Pines is traditionally much easier than its sister layout, sometimes by as many as four shots. First-round leaders tend to open play on the North, thus gaining a temporary advantage on the other half of the field.

That was the case with Reed, who opened with an 8-under-par 64 on the North. He managed an even-par 72 on Friday and finished the second round a shot behind leader Viktor Hovland.

Reed became the first Farmers Open first-round leader to go on and win the tournament since George Burns in 1987.

Controversial Drop

On Saturday, after a scorching front nine of 31, Reed created a bit of controversy on the 10th hole when he took a drop for an embedded ball.

While it was later shown that he properly followed the rules of golf, he came under fire from some current and former players for the way he handled the situation. It didn’t help the controversial player that he’d had prior incidents where his following of the rules was brought into question.

Reed seemed to shake it off and eventually finished with a third-round 70 despite four bogeys on the back nine. His birdie on the finishing hole placed him at 10-under par and tied with Carlos Ortiz for the lead heading into Sunday’s finishing round.

One of the big stories of the week was the weather, with the players battling wind, rain, and even a hail storm on Friday. Play was halted temporarily after players complained of their balls being moved on the greens by the windy conditions.

In the futures betting, Reed entered the tournament with odds of +2900, with a $100 bet on the Augusta University alum paying a cool $2,900. 

Jon Rahm, the pre-tournament favorite at +700, finished in a tie for seventh. He was tied with Reed after two rounds but only managed a pair of even-par 72’s on the weekend.

Second-round leader Hovland (+2300) struggled to a 1-over-par 73 in the third round but battled Reed for the lead on Sunday. An errant second shot on the 14th hole in the final round eventually doomed the 23-year-old to a 71 and membership in the group of players tied for second at 9-under-par.

Rory McIlroy (+750) was a close second in the betting odds to Rahm, but a balky putter cost the reliable ball-striker. He could only manage a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday and ended up in a tie for 16th at 6-under-par.

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