There were certainly leaders after the first round at the Farmers Open golf tournament, but few had heard much about Sam Ryder, Aaron Rai or Brent Grant who finished Wednesday ahead of the pack, at eight under par.
Meanwhile, much ballyhooed Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and even defending champ Luke List were considerably far from the top of the leaderboard.
One could be forgiven for searching around for Rahm, who has already won two tournaments early this season, or for Schauffele, San Diego’s hometown favorite. Of course, it is crucial to remember that this was just the first round before the Saturday finish at Torrey Pines, so there is plenty of golf left to play.
Still, when Rahm missed putts for par on the South Course sixth, seventh and eighth holes, his legendary bad temper crept back in as this year’s early star was way off his recent winning form. Spectators were also looking around for the San Diego favorite, Schauffele, and his scoring was also way off his promise.
Those in the know, however, were reminded of better first round performances from 2022 Farmers achievers Saith Thegala and Will Zalatoria, who each were creeping up the leaderboard.
For the casual observer golf is just a game, but there was still plenty of action in store for those who were watching with careful attention and for the serious professionals who were hoping to win a piece of the $8.7 million tournament pot, with the winner getting $1.5 million.
Among the 156 competitors all knew that to join the 70 or so who would play on the weekend’s final two rounds they would have to significantly pick up the quality of their performances.
Watching at home, Thursday viewers can turn to ESPN at noon Pacific time for round two, or come out to Torrey Pines for more expected fine weather.
Barry Jagoda, a La Jolla resident, was an award-winning journalist at NBC News and CBS News who later served in the White House as a media assistant for President Jimmy Carter. His new book about the Carter years is Journeys With Jimmy Carter and Other Adventures in Media.