SAN DIEGO – The scoring discrepancy that once dominated the first two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open was mitigated in 2016 when the North Course, which has always been the easier of the two layouts at Torrey Pines, was overhauled by Tom Weiskopf.
During the first round last year, the split between the two courses was less than a half a stroke. But on Thursday, the gulf returned, with the scoring average on the North dropping to 69.39 compared to the South Course’s average of 71.62, a 2.23 stroke difference.
“I like starting on the North when you score well,” said Justin Rose, who opened with a 63 on the North. “If you don't have a good day on the North, it's a tough situation to play catch up you feel on the South. I think Plan A is to get off to a good start on the North and then put it behind you and then focus on the South Course for the rest of the week.”
It was a plan that many followed on Day 1, with 11 of the top 14 players on the leaderboard, including leader Jon Rahm, playing the North Course. In total, 61 of the 98 under par rounds came on the North Course, which creates a different challenge for those who transition to the more scoreable layout on Friday.
“Overall, shooting a couple under par on the South Course is not so bad, but now I'm forced to have to shoot a low one tomorrow just like most of the field did over there today,” said Tiger Woods, who opened with a 2-under 70 on the South Course and is tied for 53rd. “I'm sure the average score over there has got to be close to under 68 today. I've got to go do it tomorrow.”
The final 36 holes of the Farmers are staged on Torrey Pines South.