Billy Horschel slept poorly on the way back from the Sony Open two weeks ago, he tweaked his shoulder, and the Farmers Insurance Open was in doubt. “I didn’t know if I was even going to tee it up today when I woke up,” he said. “Even when I was hitting balls I still wasn’t sure whether I was going to tee it up.” Makes you wonder what a healthy Horschel could have done. Here are three things you need to know after Wednesday’s first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, played at the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, in San Diego.
Billy Horschel leads
Horschel, after a few ibuprofen and work with his physio, birdied his first two holes on the North Course and nine overall and bogeyed none for a nine-under 63 and a one-shot lead over Michael Thompson. Two back are Stephan Jaeger and Kevin Tway.
Afterward, Horschel was asked: “Was it one of those then you had virtually no expectations and this kind of frees you up in some way?”
“Yeah, it was,” he said. “I told my caddie, Fooch, I said let’s just go out there, no expectations and just enjoy, and I think we did a really good job of that. My game’s in a really good spot. Todd Anderson and I, even with some injuries last week, did some really good work at home. Is it — on the swing, has it fully taken hold? No, but I felt really good with what we’re trying to do and our process, so I was more into that, not really too worried about the outcome or the scores and just trying to make really good golf swings and I did a really good job of that today.”
Jon Rahm shoots low score on the South Course
The low player on the South Course, much like he was at last year’s U.S. Open, was Jon Rahm. The world No. 1 birdied 1, 6, 9, 11, 13 and 14 and eagled the par-5 18th after hitting his second shot, from 277 yards out, to 12 feet, and he shot a six-under 66. He was tied with Rickie Fowler, Doug Ghim and Francesco Molinari, who all played the North Course.
“Yes, the conditions were relatively easy,” Rahm said. “I mean, there’s not much wind, but you’ve still got to play this golf course. I think it all started off the tee. I hit it great off the tee, put myself in really good positions, and the few times I was off, for the most part I was able to give myself a chance to save the hole so I think that was the key. Nothing was really bad, I feel like everything was feeling good, everything was coming out and feeling the way it should, and it showed in the score.”
Tony Finau is four back
Among other players, Tony Finau shot a five-under 67 (as did a whopping 21 other players), Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele shot 68s, and Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka shot 70s.
Among the players who did not break par were defending champion Patrick Reed, who shot a 72; and Phil Mickelson, who bogeyed five holes on his back nine at the South Course and shot a 76.