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Stacked field arrives at Farmers Insurance Open golf with big goals

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San Diego (California), Jan 26 (IANS) Given that there is already an array of incentives — for instance, a $7.5 million purse, a potential winning prize of $1.35 million, and a swanky and eclectic oceanfront locale in Southern California — one wouldn’t think that talented professional golfers would find anything else to prompt them to enter the Farmers Insurance Open golf this week.

Yet that is the case with the annual tournament in San Diego, set for January 28 to 31. This PGA TOUR stop — where Marc Leishman of Australia arrives as defending champion — never struggles to attract a stellar field, but this year the star power is even more excessive and the stage, Torrey Pines’ South Course, is a big reason why.

The beefy, 7,765-yard golf course that sits high atop majestic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean maintains such a persona that it is worthy of two top-billings in 2021. First, as site of the Farmers for a 54th consecutive year, then later this summer as host to the US Open.

“One of my favourite venues on the PGA TOUR and one of my favourite golf courses in the world,” said Englishman Justin Rose, winner of the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.

While he wasn’t speaking on behalf of anyone, he very well could have been. The South Course has that much cache and commands that much respect with all corners of the golf world — players, fans, and administrators such as those who run the United States Golf Association and have chosen Torrey Pines to host its flagship event for the second time in 14 years.

Adam Scott, No. 23 in the latest official world golf ranking, emphasised that building early-season form was the primary reason for entering the Farmers for just the second time in his career, but he conceded that it helps to know he can get a feel for the upcoming US Open.

It would be a safe bet to suggest other marquee names share that sentiment, because early commitments for the Farmers arrived from No.2 Jon Rahm, the 2017 champion; No.6 Xander Schauffele; No.7 Rory McIlroy; and No.12 Brooks Koepka.

For Asian hopes, all eyes will be on Si Woo Kim, who ended a four-year title drought on Sunday to claim a third PGA TOUR victory at The American Express after making birdies in two of the last three holes to edge Patrick Cantlay by a single stroke.

–IANS

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