LA JOLLA, Calif. – Thousands of fans flooded the greens Wednesday at Torrey Pines for the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

From last year’s U.S. Open winner Jon Rahm to San Diegan Phil Mickelson, more than 150 of golf’s brightest stars are battling it out this week to bring home some hardware as well their share of $8.4 million in total prize money. Heading into Thursday’s action, Billy Horschel leads the field by one stroke followed closely by Michael Thompson. They were two of 30 players to shoot 67 or better on the day.

That group does not include Mickelson, who is tied for 141st place at 5 over par and San Diego State grad Xander Schauffele just missed it by shooting a 68, placing him in a seven-way tie at 4 under par.

But fans scattered throughout the course appeared to enjoy an opening round that began on a Wednesday with the final round slated for Saturday. It’s a shift that was announced last fall to avoid clashing with the NFL conference championship games Sunday.

“The nice thing is it wasn’t super crowded,” local resident and golf fan Mike Steelman said. “I don’t think a lot of people realized we were playing Wednesday, so I think we really lucked out.”

Players appeared focused as they made their way down the picturesque North and South courses at Torrey Pines. Their family members — some with finances riding on a successful week — battled back nerves.

“It can be super rewarding, but it comes with a lot of highs and a lot of lows,” said Crys Cook, who is married to golfer Austin Cook. “So, you just have to find the balance and you pick up and keep going.”

Pandemic restrictions have limited attendance to 10,000 people, though no vaccination cards are required and masks aren’t required when outside. Under California guidelines, masks are required to be worn by all indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Tickets are still available to attend the Farmers Insurance Open. Click or tap here to purchase passes for any of the three remaining days of this week’s tournament.