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Michael Thompson (64) has a manly beard and a very good reason for keeping it

Michael Thompson has been a PGA Tour regular for a dozen years, but his lush thicket of a beard is throwing people off.

After wrapping up an 8-under 64 on the North Course in Round 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open, Thompson was asked if he had been confused for anyone else, because of the impressive facial growth.

“Man, I haven’t been mistaken for anybody, it’s just more people just, they think I’m a rookie because I look so different,” he said. “You know, I’ve probably gotten more comments of, ‘What hockey team do you play for?’”

Thompson’s “playoff” beard began before the start of the FedExCup post-season and has continued for one simple reason: “[T]urns out my wife loved the beard so I’m keeping it,” he said.

Full-field scores from Farmers Insurance Open

Good enough. And perhaps good luck as well. He is one back of Billy Horschel’s lead at Torrey Pines as Thompson seeks his third career PGA Tour win and first since the 3M Open in July 2020. He had eight birdies and no bogeys on Wednesday.

Despite all of the big names and more recognizable faces this week, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Thompson stayed in contention. He does have some good history at Torrey Pines.

“I played the 2008 U.S. Open,” Thompson said. “I actually played the first two rounds with Rocco Mediate, which was a really special experience, so I’ve got great memories from that week.”

Mediate, of course, went on to finish runner-up that year to a broken-legged Tiger Woods after 91 holes.

“I finished low am [in 2008] and played here a bunch. I’ve had a number of good rounds – not really any great finishes, I think primarily because these courses are long for me. But I’m getting to the point now in my career where I’ve had good rounds on every golf course so I know I can play well; it’s just a matter of whether my game’s in shape. I feel like I’m in a good spot right now.”