SAN DIEGO – in the opening round, all eyes on were on Jon Rahm, last week’s American Express winner, who struggled to a 1-over 73 at Torrey Pines South, which has become one of his favorite courses. Sam Ryder, Aaron Rai and Brent Grant all shot 8-under 64 on the more forgiving North Course Wednesday, Jan. 25, to tie for the first-round lead at the Farmers Insurance Open.

A handful of local professional golfers are representing the area at the Farmers Insurance Open, which is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, played in the San Diego area in the early part of the season known as the “West Coast Swing”. To not compete with the NFL Divisional Championship games, it was decided last year to hold the tournament on Wednesday through Saturday.

Brent Grant, who has been training in the Temecula Valley area for the past five years, shot an 8-under 64 to tie for the first-round lead at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Wednesday, Jan. 25. Valley News/PGA courtesy photo

Rahm, ranked No. 3 in the world, earned his first PGA TOUR victory in 2017 at the municipal courses on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean and then won the U.S. Open on the South Course in 2021. At this year’s tournament he will be trying for his 10th career TOUR win, but after first round action he was tied for 116th with 11 others, including playing partners Tony Finau and Justin Rose.

Ryder, Rai and Grant have never won on TOUR. Ryder is coming off three straight missed cuts. Grant, a Hawaii native who has ties to the Temecula Valley, and is a familiar face at the Dynamic Fitness HPK training facility in Murrieta, has not shot better than a 74 in his last four rounds. Those stats are not holding him back at all.

“This round of golf is not something that I would look at and say — obviously it’s a good round of golf and I may be in the lead with a couple other guys, but again, it’s just day one,” Grant stated after his opening round Wednesday.

Grant’s promising round on the first day at this year’s Farmers comes after a difficult time at last week’s The American Express where the 26-year-old finished at the very bottom of the leaderboard in La Quinta.

“Well, finishing dead last is never a great thing, but again, I haven’t changed much,” he added when describing his experience last week.

San Diego hometown favorite Xander Schauffele tees off at hole No. 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Wednesday, Jan. 25. Valley News/David Canales photo

Including Grant, the three took a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele, who was at 7-under 65, with seven players bunched another shot back at 6-under 66. Defending champion Luke List and Collin Morikawa, ranked No. 8 in the world, were in a group of seven at 5-under 67. The top six finishers and 13 of the top 18 played the North Course. Players will switch courses on Thursday, with stronger wind in the forecast, and play the final two rounds on the South Course.

Of course, there are plenty of other local golfers to be noted, including Murrieta’s standout, Rickie Fowler, and playing in his first-ever PGA event is Murrieta native, Harrison Kingsley. Both also train with the staff at Dynamic Fitness HPK when in town, along with their golf coach, Tony Greco, who has been on hand at the event to provide support.

Fowler hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation during his first round at the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing at even, and Kingsley, a senior at the University of San Diego, finished at +2 on the day. Kingsley made it through the Pre-Qualifier at Twin Oak Golf Course Tuesday, Jan. 17, shooting a -5 (66 for T1), and then was 1 of 4 golfers to shoot under par -1 (71) at Bear Creek to qualify for the Farmers Insurance Open last weekend.

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JP Raineri can be reached by email at