Greens make South Course tricky at Torrey Pines

Longer, trickier South Course has been more difficult on golfers at Farmers Insurance Open

It should be no surprise that the South Course at Torrey Pines has played more than three strokes harder than the North Course through the first two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The South side is about 600 yards longer and the greens can be tricky.

"You start missing some fairways on the South Course and leaving yourself 30- to 40-foot putts," Jason Day said, "it's tough to get any kind of momentum rolling your way."

Topography has a lot to do with it.

"Each green's like three or four little greens in itself with the kind of tiering," Martin Laird said. "So you've got to be able to hit it high and stop it."

That might explain why Laird stands tied for second at eight under with rounds of 68 on each side. He said: "I feel like I can go for a few flags on that golf course that some people maybe can't."

And that could work to his advantage with the third and fourth rounds played exclusively on the South.

Walker sees stars

Golf hasn't been the only thing on Jimmy Walker's mind lately.

The four-time PGA Tour winner is also a devoted astroimager — meaning that he uses a powerful telescope, camera and other gadgets to photograph the stars.

During a recent break, he worked with a Caltech engineer on a setup that is located in New Mexico but allows him to take pictures remotely.

"We got it up and running and there's still a few more little tweaks to do," Walker said after the second round. "But the next time I get home, we'll get it finished up."

The hobby, which dates back to Walker's boyhood, took a quantum leap last year when he signed an endorsement contract with a telescope manufacturer.

Johnson cuts it too close

Dustin Johnson walked away from Torrey Pines missing the cut by one stroke but — all things considered — feeling good about his game.

Johnson made news this week by returning to golf after seven-month absence. He has told selected media outlets that he was receiving treatment for alcoholism.

He began his comeback at the Farmers Insurance Open with a first-round 74 on the South, then improved with a 70 Friday. His driver caused him some problems and he was obviously rusty on the greens.

"I had lots of putts that could have gone in but didn't," he said. "But I hung in there and fought and fought pretty hard."

david.wharton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesWharton

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