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Relieved English can handle Torrey test

Superstars humbled by tough track

Harris English was second in the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open
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The brutal Torrey Pines South course proved too much of an early-season test for many big names in the Farmers Insurance Open, including returning former world number one, Tiger Woods.

Long, soft fairways, lined by thick, juicy rough, with fast, bumpy greens thrown in for good measure – the South humbled many of the superstars in attendance at the famous California venue.

Woods, a general 33-1 chance for victory on a course where he has won eight professional events, carded a four-over-par opening round and missed the cut by four shots. His playing partners Dustin Johnson and Jason Day topped the ante-post betting, but both also missed the cut. Other US Tour champions who succumbed to Torrey Pines and have the weekend off are Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Rickie Fowler and Daniel Berger.

Justin Rose, who was 28-1 at the outset, leads the Farmers at the halfway stage. The Englishman birdied his final hole of round two to reach eight under par and become 5-2 favourite. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker is in second place and a general 9-2.

It remains to be seen whether the fragile putting stroke of Rose will hold up over the weekend, while Snedeker has been in the process of tinkering with his swing in the wake of splitting up from coach Butch Harmon. Rose's short-game and Snedeker's long-game means the front two in the betting are unlikely to charge away from the pack.

Third-round threeball punters are pointed towards Harris English in the 4.50pm (UK and Ireland) group. English is proven at the South Course, where he lost a playoff to Day for the 2015 Farmers, and can outclass playing partners Jonas Blixt and Roberto Castro.

English is likely to play with more freedom in round three, having made his first cut since the first week of November. He had missed the cut on the mark in his previous three events. Before that, he finished fourth in the Shriners Open, and he won the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout alongside Matt Kuchar last month.

Blixt has missed eight of his last 11 cuts, while Castro has never bettered 33rd place at Torrey Pines. The action resumes at 3.30pm UK and Ireland time, with the final threeball of Rose, Snedeker and Adam Hadwin on the tee at 5.40pm. A sunny day, with moderate breezes, is forecast.

Recommendation
H English
1pt 6-4 Hills

It remains to be seen whether the fragile putting stroke of Rose will hold up over the weekend
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