K.J. Choi has never liked Torrey Pines. In fact, he even sat out last year’s Farmers Insurance Open, as Brandt Snedeker went on to win. This year though he opened with a -7 under par 65 to tie defending champ Brandt Snedeker for the first-round lead. K.J. took on the tougher South Course in perfect conditions, but the forecast is not looking too good with rain predicted for Friday.
K.J. said in interview;
” The course is pretty long, the greens are pretty hard, so I felt like the course didn’t really fit me too well before, but I found something on the range this morning. Surprisingly, today all of my iron shots were kind of stopping into the green.”
Brandt Snedeker is also bemused why he always seems to play well, although the course does not set up well for him;
“It’s funny, you look at all the golf courses I should play well on, this should not be one of them. This is a long, difficult golf course with lots of rough and hitting a lot of iron shots. My strength is driving and putting, so it doesn’t really add up well around here, but for some reason, it’s been good to me.”
Brandt Snedeker / Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
By contrast Phil Mickleson could manage only even par on the easier North Course, and he is tied for 90th place with a round on the tougher South Course coming up. Phil has no illusions about the task ahead of him if he is to make the cut;
” I’ve got to shoot something in the 60s, and if I can get a couple of putts to go, I putted very poorly, I’ve got to get that putter going. If I can putt well, hopefully, the mid-60s. I’ve been playing better than this, and there’s no excuses. Very lethargic off the first tee, I’ve got to get my head a little bit more focused on the shots, and I haven’t been as mentally focused starting out. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to turn that around tomorrow and start a little bit more effectively in the future. It’s going to take some exceptional golf over on the South, but three of the rounds are on the South, and there are some low scores out there if you play the course right and effectively. There’s probably half the holes where you’ve got to play for par and the other half you can make some birdies.
Tiger Woods said he thought he had done a good job shooting -4 under par 68 for his first round at the Farmers;
“After being 1 under and then 1 over, to battle back and get to 6 at one point was a good job. It is different this tournament, because we didn’t play this fast, we had some rain overnight last night, but still these fairways are zipping. At least the greens are receptive. The greens are a little more receptive than in the practice round. I knew I had two par fives on the front side so I could get it down to par, and then maybe get two or three on the back, I thought that would be a good score. And lo’ and behold, I get it rolling. Get to 6 and a chance to go to 7, so it can change quickly. But, we had the perfect conditions for it. We couldn’t ask for better conditions to score than we had today.”
There are eight players tied in third place at -6 under par, Josh Teater, Adam Hadwin, Luke List, Ross Fisher, Billy Horschel, Chucky Three Sticks, Mike Weir and Scott Stallings. Tomorrow’s bad weather will soon sort that bunched pack, it will be an interesting days play.