Cauley capable of entering the equation at juicy price
Day not certain to sustain his gallop
Story so far
James Hahn leads the AT&T Byron Nelson by a shot going into the final round at TPC Four Seasons, Texas, the pre-tournament 175-1 chance reaching 12 under par through 54 holes.
That was the score Jason Kokrak was on after 36 holes, but the halfway pacesetter could manage only a two-over-par 72 in round three, allowing the chasing pack to destroy his five-shot lead and overtake him at the top of the leaderboard.
Hahn, twice a champion on the US Tour, is a best-price 16-5 to convert his slender advantage into victory. Billy Horschel is alone in second place, with former world number one Jason Day sharing third spot. Day fired a superb third-round 63 to charge 14 places up the board, assuming 5-2 favouritism going into Sunday.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia is well in the hunt for a successful title defence from only four shots behind, but ante-post 9-2 favourite Dustin Johnson needs some serious fireworks from seven shots adrift in a share of 19th place. Johnson can be backed at 50-1.
-12 James Hahn
-11 Billy Horschel
-10 Jason Day, Jason Kokrak
-9 Cameron Tringale
-8 Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner, Bud Cauley
5-2 J Day, 16-5 J Hahn, 9-2 B Horschel, 10 J Kokrak, 14 S Garcia, 20 J Dufner, 25 C Tringale, 33 B Cauley, 50 B H An, D Johnson, 100 bar
Jason Day tops the market after his dazzling Saturday 63, but there has been so much inconsistency in the Australian's game this season that weighing in at short prices carries plenty of risk.
Day looked like he may have turned the corner when going five under par through 11 holes of his first round in the Players Championship last week, but he bogeyed three of his final four holes, then played poorly from there for 60th place. His spurt this week has been better timed, but recent history suggests Day is a dangerous investment at just 5-2.
The Day who was winning with ease in 2015 and 2016 would look at this leaderboard and be confident of getting the job done. He has gone more than a year without a victory, though, denting self-belief.
Day is the most likely champion, but an unattractive price. James Hahn is a streaky player who is dangerous when in the groove, but there is no juice in his odds either. Billy Horschel was fortunate to hole from a bunker at the 17th hole yesterday – his ball was rolling a fair distance past the cup if it missed – and it is also difficult to get enthused about him at 9-2.
The value lies deeper down the outright betting. There is a long way to go in this tournament and if the leaders tread water, which is entirely feasible, anyone from five under par upwards will still have hope of title glory.
Dustin Johnson (50-1) and Louis Oosthuizen (150-1) are both five under par and capable of conjuring a special final round to set a clubhouse lead. Sergio Garcia (14-1) and Bud Cauley (33-1) are three shots closer to the lead and both will probably finish with a title-threatening flourish.
Garcia suffered a Sunday 78 at Sawgrass last week, but has been swinging well for the vast majority of this term and is proven at Four Seasons, while Cauley has been in fantastic ball-striking form for a month and finished fourth in this event last year.
A breakthrough triumph is always the most difficult to secure, but bet365 are not showing Cauley enough respect with their 33-1 quote (a quarter the odds the first three places). Cauley made a mess of the driveable par-four 11th hole yesterday, drawing his ball into the water on his way to a double-bogey, but three birdies in his final six holes brought the talented 27-year-old back into the picture.
Prices should dictate betting plans. If Day was 9-2, the Major champion and class of the leaderboard would be worth chancing, but 5-2 is too short. Cauley should probably be half the odds bet365 are offering, so a small wager on him is recommended instead. Day, Hahn, Garcia and Cauley can battle for the trophy.
Final-round twoball punters are pointed towards Ryan Palmer, who is always determined to put on a good show when playing in his home state of Texas. Palmer, Byron Nelson runner-up in 2011, can outclass JJ Henry in the 4.25pm UK and Ireland time match.
The final twoball of Hahn and Horschel is scheduled to tee off at 6.45pm. A sunny day with light breezes is forecast.
1pt each-way 33-1 bet365
1pt 8-11 Hills