Recap of the day
It’s easy to predict the 18-hole leaderboard at Torrey Pines. All the pacesetters are from the easier North Course which hosts one of the first two rounds while you’ll do well to spot (SC) next to anyone in the top ten. However, the unlikely figure of Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen defied conventional wisdom on day one to post a superb 6-under 66 at the South Course (finishing up on 18 by putting through the fog which briefly held up play) to share first-round honours with Keegan Bradley (NC). In the logjam at 5-under which included Rory McIlroy, there was another (SC), that one belonging to Bubba Watson, a winner of this event back in 2011. Tiger Woods has eight wins at Torrey (this x7 and a US Open on one leg x1) and he set about No. 9 with a 69 on the North. Presuming he makes the cut (he will), Tiger now has three straight rounds at the South.
Day One Scoring by Course
North Course: 70.7
South Course: 73.7
R1 Leaderboard: - 6 Sebastian Cappelen (SC), Keegan Bradley (NC), -5 Byeong Hun An (NC), Joel Dahmen (NC), Kevin Tway (NC), Rory McIlroy (NC), Xinjun Zhang (NC), Matthew NeSmith (NC), Sungjae Im (NC), Bubba Watson (SC).
Notables: -4 Jon Rahm (NC), -3 Patrick Reed (NC), Brandt Snedeker (NC), Tiger Woods (NC), -2 Tony Finau (SC), Jordan Spieth (SC), Evs Phil Mickelson (SC), +1 Hideki Matsuyama (SC), Jason Day (SC), +2 Xander Schauffele (SC), +3 Rickie Fowler (SC), Gary Woodland (SC), Justin Rose (SC), +7 Francesco Molinari (SC).
WD: Danny Lee (citing a back injury after a 79 on the South).
Revised outright betting
9/2 McIlroy, 7/1 Rahm, 12/1 Bubba, 14/1 Im, Woods, 16/1 Finau, 20/1 Spieth, 22/1 Bradley, 30/1 An, Cappelen.
Friday weather forecast
There’s very little wind around on day two and it drops to almost nothing around 10am. But temperatures are mild, starting out in the 50s and maxing out at 68 degrees around 1pm before dropping back again. An early start on the South will be tough with the ball not flying far.
Leaders after at 18 holes
Sebastian Cappelen (66) – The Dane, currently 341st in the OWGR, racked up an impressive eight birdies on the South thanks mainly to a red-hot putter (gained over 5.7 strokes with the blade). If a very distant bell went off, you may recall him leading after R1 of the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship where he finished T35. He made a better job of cashing in on a first-round lead in the Korn Ferry’s Wichita Open in 2018, going to take fourth place.
Keegan Bradley (66) – Bradley is a huge fan of his event and owns two top fives in the last three years. He was also T12 at the Sony Open on his last start. Today, his bogey-free lap of the North featured an eagle and four birdies, 15 GIR and 100% Scrambling. He split just seven fairways so will that hurt him a little if he can’t straighten it up from the tee on the South? One other concern: yes, it will naturally be harder tomorrow but Bradley has a habit of struggling after fast openers. He’s had a piece of the lead six times on the PGA Tour and his follow-up round has been between seven and 12 shots higher.
Fate of the favorites
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods both started on the North, shooting 67, 68 and 69 respectively for solid starts. McIlroy and Rahm both pelted 14 GIR, with Roy finding one extra fairway (11 to Rahm’s 10). Tiger managed eight (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in the right number. Defending champ Justin Rose found life tough going on the south, a walk-off birdie giving him a 3-over 75.
Rory McIlroy (67, North) – "67 was a nice start. I drove the ball really well. If I can drive the ball like that for the rest of the week and the rest of the year I’d be pretty happy! Iron play was okay, I hit a couple of loose ones. Wedge play was nice."
Road to victory at Torrey Pines
2019 – Justin Rose R1: 2nd, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2018 – Jason Day R1: 113th, R2: 6th, R3: 5th
2017 – Jon Rahm R1: 77th, R2: 21st, R3: 13th
2016 – Brandt Snedeker R1: 90th, R2: 57th, R3: 27th
2015 – Jason Day R1: 95th, R2: 6th, R3: 8th
Notes: From 2011 to 2018, every champion had started on the harder South Course. That explains why so many of the eventual winners were way down the field. Jason Day, for example, opened with a 73 on the South in both of his wins, ending day one eight back in 2018 and nine adrift in 2015. Two years ago, Day was able to jump from T113 after the opening lap to T6 going into the weekend thanks to a 64 on the North in round two. Justin Rose changed the script last year by winning from a North/South rotation. He fired a 63 on the North on Thursday before backing it up with three fine rounds on the South.
Fate of the first-round leaders at Torrey Pines – where did they finish?
Notes: Of course, first-round leaders almost always come from the North Course and Rahm, Finau and Rose rode their good starts there to top six finishes. However, no 18-hole leader has gone on to win here since 1987. Sorry Sebastian Cappelen and Keegan Bradley.
Focus on - the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic
Meanwhile, there was a former Ryder Cup star leading after 18 holes of the DDC. Here's the update from day one.
With conditions tough – narrowed fairways, thicker rough, slick greens and wind – Emirates GC yielded fewer birdies than usual on day one of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Thomas Pieters emerged on top of the pack thanks to a 67 (1st in SG: Tee To Green), the highest R1 leader score since 2010. The Belgian’s 5-under afternoon round was one better than American David Lipsky while there was a logjam at 3-under. It included Shaun Norris, who looked all set to have a piece of the 18-hole lead for the second week running until he took a triple bogey-7 at his closing hole, the tough 9th. A week on from winning in Abu Dhabi, Lee Westwood had six bogeys and 12 pars in a 6-over 78 to sit 113th. Pre-tournament betting favorite Tommy Fleetwood also struggled to a 3-over 75 on a day when only 29 players broke par.
R1 leaderboard: -5 Thomas Pieters, -4 David Lipsky, -3 Ashun Wu, Matthieu Pavon, Eddie Pepperell, Robert Karlsson, Dean Burmester, Romain Langasque, Kalle Samooja, Masahiro Kawamura, Shaun Norris, Kurt Kitayama, Soren Kjeldsen, Lucas Herbert.
Notables: -2 Bryson DeChambeau, -1 Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Evs Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Shane Lowry, +2 Matthew Fitzpatrick, +3 Tommy Fleetwood, +4 Rafa Cabrera Bello, +6 Lee Westwood.
Revised betting: 11/2 Pieters, 10/1 Oosthuizen, 11/1 DeChambeau, 16/1 Van Rooyen, Garcia, 20/1 Kitayama, 22/1 Hovland, 25/1 Stenson.