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University of Oregon's Norman Xiong will make his PGA TOUR debut this week at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, California.

Xiong was born in Guam but moved to the San Diego area when he was seven, so he should really enjoy coming back to the area where he learned the game. After shining as a junior, he committed to the University of Oregon and has found plenty of early success, currently ranked 5th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Xiong will be playing as an amateur this week but according to Tod Leonard of The San Diego Union-Tribune, Xiong had plans to turn pro this summer and attempt to play his way into status on the PGA TOUR or Web.com Tour. The youngster has plenty of experience at Torrey Pines South but it's not an easy spot to make a TOUR debut. Gamers don't need to invest quite yet, but he will certainly be one to watch closely this week.
Jan 23 - 4:13 PM

Jason Day will be without his regular caddie as he makes his first start of 2018, this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. UPDATE: Jason Day was withdrawn from Wednesday's Pro-Am with a sore back, but is still in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open.

The Aussie has been out of action since a solo 5th-place finish back home at the Australian Open (late November). He continues to deal with off-the-course concerns. Most recently, his "normal" caddie, Luke Reardon cannot make the trip as he deals with getting his work visa. Normal is in quotes there since Day and his long-time caddie, Collin Swatton split near the end of last season. Instead, he will have Rika Batibasaga on the bag this week, a practice buddy who has played professionally on the Australasian and EuroPro Tours. Luckily, Day won't need much help around Torrey Pines as he owns a trio of top 10s here including a 2015 Farmers victory. His form is a complete mystery but gamers could certainly give him a look this week as a high risk, high reward type of selection.
Jan 23 - 3:53 PM

Jon Rahm hoisted the trophy at last year's Farmers Insurance Open and returns this week for his first chance of defending a PGA TOUR title.

Rahm has quickly vaulted up the world rankings, securing World No. 2 after last week's victory in the desert. It was his second win over his last three international starts with a runner-up finish sandwiched in between. With Dustin Johnson resting this week, Rahm has the chance to steal the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, if he happens to pull off another victory. The Spaniard's all-around game is a perfect match for these tough, Torrey Pines layouts. On paper, he is the favorite yet again, making him a strong fantasy option in all formats.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 23 - 3:36 PM

Julian Suri will look to test his game on the big stage as he preps for this week's Farmers Insurance Open, his first of three planned events in the United States over the next month.

World No. 62 cracked the field on a sponsor's exemption this week. He shared on his Twitter feed that he's also locked up invites to the Waste Management Phoenix Open as well as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The 26-year-old Duke University product ended his year on the European Tour with top 10s in four of his last five starts. A strong end to a calendar year that saw him post five podium finishes, including two wins (1 Euro Tour, 1 Challenge Tour). He started 2017 ranked 1,137th in the OWGR and ended it inside the top 65. Suri's lone PGA TOUR start came at last year's Open Championship (MC). Most of his amateur experience comes on the East Coast but this upcoming West Coast stretch will still be a good opportunity for the New York native to prove his game stacks up with the best in the world.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Jan 23 - 3:27 PM

Hao Tong Li is set for a second appearance in the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates this week.

A missed cut last week in Abu Dhabi and a T39 tournament debut last year (with not one round in the 60s), but it would be foolish to entirely overlook the Chinese golfer. For one thing he's twice played nicely in the country at the DP World Tour Championship (T30 in 2016 closing with a pair of 69s, T13 last November ending with two 67s). Moreover he closed 2017 in very nice fashion in addition to that effort at Jumeirah: T4 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge and T19 in the Hong Kong Open. A fine performer who has probably not peaked yet.
Jan 23 - 8:39 AM

Richard Sterne will seek to utilise his extensive experience when he tees it up in the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates this week.

At first glance the South African's record has only one standout effort (when T2 in 2013) and one half-decent shot (T16 in 2006). Otherwise, whilst 9-for-11 (the missed cuts came on debut in 2003 and last year), he has never finished better than T33. But there is a curio within that log book: For the first three years of his visits he struggled in round one (76-73-72) and did so again last year (73). In between, however, he always broke 70, was T4 after 18 holes in 2011 and 2012, and led following a 62 in 2013. He's also made two quick starts this year: 67 for T4 in the South African Open (T20) and 68 for T8 last week in Abu Dhabi (T19).
Jan 23 - 8:38 AM

Dean Burmester will make his tournament debut in the Dubai Desert Classic hosted by the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates.

It might be his first tournament look at the track, but he's proved himself a handy performer in the country. He was T7 in last year's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (69-70-66-69) and, whilst only T40 last week, again showed he can play the track (69-72-67-74). Moreover, at the end of last season he was a very fine T4 in the DP World Tour Championship (70-68-65-68). Now 46 starts into his European Tour career, he has nine top ten finishes in that sample including five top fives (one of them a win, last year's Tshwane Open).
Jan 23 - 8:37 AM

Soren Kjeldsen will make a 16th appearance in the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates.

The Dane boasts seven finishes of T33 or better on the course, five of them top 20 and three top tens, yet he's also missed the cut no less than eight times. More pertinently he has a best of T5 (in 2012) and yet that is the nearest he has ever been to the lead at the end of a round. In other words he's never really been in contention. He's teed it up in the U.A.E. 35 times and has just four top tens (two of them in his last four starts admittedly). Opened 2018 with a missed cut in the South African Open and T48 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Jan 23 - 8:37 AM

Matteo Manassero is striping the ball tee-to-green as he heads to the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC.

A ninth visit to the course and tournament, and whilst there have been the odd highlight, they have been very brief: a round one 66 helped him to T12 in 2013. Otherwise he is 5-for-8 with that result the only time he had ever made it into the top 30. It's on trend with his entire record in the United Arab Emirates: 17-for-22 but only twice inside the top 20 and that T12 is the best of the lot. Throughout 2017 he averaged 70.13 per lap, the first year he had dipped below 71 since 2013. His Green in Regulation number (76.39%) was his best ever, but he continues to need more than 30 putts per round. The two stats are almost certainly related, but it needs addressing nonetheless. T30 in Abu Dhabi (second for GIR), but not in the top 20 since September's KLM Open.
Jan 23 - 8:35 AM

Fresh from opening 2018 with victory in the Singapore Open Sergio Garcia arrives in the United Arab Emirates to defend his Dubai Desert Classic title on the Majlis course at Emirates GC.

It's always tempting to expect a great deal of a player coming off a fantastic year, especially one including a first major win, but, as Henrik Stenson discovered, following-up is very difficult. That makes Garcia's five-shot win last week in Singapore intriguing. Whilst true that it wasn't a great field (a decent one though), what shone through was his desire: The weather was poor, disruptions frequent, it would have been easy for his eye to drift from the target, but it never did and this week will be another test of that mindset. He said after his win on Sunday: "I practised a few weeks before coming here. I feel that I’m getting used to my new equipment. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum." Prior to the win last year his record here was a curiosity: Two missed cuts and four times when he contended yet never recorded a top ten.
Jan 23 - 7:37 AM

Jeunghun Wang has a fine record in the Middle East, with his debut at last year's Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates the exception; he'll hope to rectify that this week.

Last week's T15 was yet more proof that the three-time European Tour winner has what it takes in the Middle East. Of course, victory in last year's Qatar Masters confirmed that, but in the U.A.E. he has plenty to interest gamers. Back in December 2014 he finished T2 in the Asian Tour's one-off Dubai Open and at the end of 2016 he closed out the DP World Tour Championship with rounds of 65-55 for T17. Last year he opened in Abu Dhabi with 68-67 to be T6 before finishing T11 and he was T28 when returning to Jumeirah at the end of the season. The only blip is rather relevant: Missed cut here 12 months ago. Coming off his win in Doha the week before we can maybe excuse that.
Jan 23 - 7:34 AM

Joost Luiten will make a ninth Dubai Desert Classic appearance on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates.

The Dutch media are a bit twitchy about their man, noting a world ranking that, at year's end, has tended to be up and down: 97-64-108-49-29-85-58-82. Better this year then? On Golf.nl journalist Daan Slooter said: "He is at his best when the pressure is highest and the focus is optimal. He must impose this pressure himself." Robert-Jan Derksen added: "Dare he step outside his comfort zone to make really big strides towards top 50 / Ryder Cup? Because he will have to do something 'different' to realize that." He opened 2018 with T48 last week in Abu Dhabi and is 5-for-8 on the course with the highlight T8 in 2016. Has broken 70 four times in the last two years; before that he did so four times in 18 laps.
Jan 23 - 7:33 AM

What does the next renewal of the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates hold for Andy Sullivan?

It has to be said that, thus far, his record there has been boom or bust. On debut in 2013 he coasted to a fine T12 with four sub-par laps of the track, but 12 months later he crashed out after 74-70. For the next two years it was plain-sailing. He opened 65-68 in 2015 to lie T5 and a pair of weekend 70s got him T4. Only a slow start (70) stopped his victory charge in 2016, as he finished 66-66-68 for T2. Last year was a poor one: 70-78 for an abbreviated week. He made only two top tens in 2017 and his start to this campaign has been typical: T34 in the South African Open, T53 last week in Abu Dhabi. He did peg a second round 65 last week however.
Jan 23 - 7:31 AM

Sean Crocker has quietly made a strong start to the season and will hope to continue that on invitation to the Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at Emirates GC in the United Arab Emirates.

The 21-year-old Zimbabwean, based in the States and mentored by Nick Price, will be on a high arriving for this week's action after he claimed a spot in The Open at Carnoustie with his T6 finish in last week's Singapore Open. "To qualify for The Open is unreal, it's something you dream of," he gushed. "To play in your first major is the coolest thing ever." Last season he got himself five starts on the European Tour without cracking the top 30, but this campaign has been very different and his ability to land his ball on the putting surface has been eye-catching. He was T16 in the Hong Kong Open (fourth for Greens in Regulation), T7 in the Australian PGA Championship (GIR sixth) and he was fifth for GIR last week (his Total Driving ranks in those events were superb too: seventh, ninth, seventh). One to watch closely this week.
Jan 23 - 7:30 AM

Jack Maguire was one of three golfers to fire a 6-under 66 during Monday's Open Qualifier into this week's Farmers Insurance Open. The other two were John Mallinger and Derek Barron while Tyler Torano also punched his ticket to the Farmers with a 5-under 67.

Maguire will be making his fifth career PGA TOUR start this week. The latest resulted in a T42 at last year's U.S. Open. Prior to that his resume looked as follows: T58-MC-MC. The Florida State product has plenty of pedigree, leaving college during his junior year (2016) to turn pro. The starts haven't quite piled up like he hoped, spending the majority of his time on the Web.com circuit over the last two years. Gamers should keep a close eye on Maguire because he has the talent to contend out here on the PGA TOUR, he just needs to find a bit of momentum.
Jan 22 - 8:23 PM



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