Torrey PinesÂ two courses offers a special trial for golfers Â the North course offers abundant scoring holes, while the South is a proper test of golf and was 13th toughest for GIR last year.
But Trevor Immelman was solid around the South course on Thursday and shot one-under-par 71, but finished nine strokes shy of leaders Spencer Levin and Kyle Stanley, who tore up the North course.
Immelman has struggled with a wrist injury over the last three years, but experience at Torrey Pines is crucial – it gives him the edge over the young guns who blazed around the North course in 62 blows.
The difference in difficulty was best reflected by the number of players who broke 70 on Thursday -54 in total, of which just 13 played on the South course. And Immelman should take note of the evidence.
His round at the South course was not a complete breeze Â he started with a drop at the par-four fourth Â but recovered immediately with a pair of birdies at the fifth and sixth.
After turning at one-under, Immelman had found some rhythm and he made further birdies at the 11th and 13th for a move to three-under.
The former Masters champion struggled to close the round after a bogey at the 16th set him off kilter, and he went on to drop a second time at the 17th before signing for 71.
Ernie Els, fresh off his second-place finish at the Volvo Golf Champions tournament, joined Immelman at one-under. For many of the same reasons, Els must take his shot at glory on Friday and aim to shoot low around the North course ahead of the cut.
Garth Mulroy experienced the sting of the South course – he made only 10 greens and carded seven bogeys during the round to close round one at four-over.
Many went low around Torrey Pines, but for Immelman Friday is moving day as he heads for the easier North course.