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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Chasing pack seems likely to reel in vulnerable leader

Casey and Lee set to chase down Simpson

Danny Lee has played superbly over the last two rounds
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Story so far

Webb Simpson moved to the top of the leaderboard in round three of the Dean & Deluca Invitational as temperatures soared to dangerous levels at Colonial Country Club.

Simpson, a best-price 55-1 ante-post, carded a 67 to go two shots in front on a day when Jordan Spieth's caddie had to retire after 11 holes due to heat exhaustion.

Simpson is 19-10 favourite with 18 holes to play, but he has a host of quality pursuers to fend off. Paul Casey and Danny Lee are tied for second place, while Kevin Kisner shares fourth spot with Stewart Cink.

Spanish duo Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia are four and five shots behind respectively, while defending champion Spieth is still in the hunt from five behind. Spieth's bagman Michael Greller is expected to return to action today.


-9 Webb Simpson
-7 Paul Casey, Danny Lee
-6 Stewart Cink, Kevin Kisner
-5 Jon Rahm, Sean O'Hair
-4 Emiliano Grillo, Bill Haas, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Scott Piercy

Best prices

19-10 W Simpson, 9-2 P Casey, 15-2 D Lee, 9 K Kisner, J Rahm, 18 S Cink, 20 J Spieth, 25 S Garcia, 30 S O'Hair, 40 E Grillo, 50 B Haas, S Piercy, 100 bar

Today's advice

Webb Simpson has the swing of a 20-handicapper and the putting touch of an elephant. He is a Major champion, though, and has a gift for grinding his way to good scores.

Simpson, for all his flaws, has won four times on the US Tour. His last triumph came in 2013, though, and he is winless since the ban on anchored putters arrived. Getting the ball in the hole has been a serious problem for him since he was forced to drop anchor.

Simpson thrived on a US Open-style third day at Colonial – hot, breezy and tough – but there is no urge to back him at skinny odds before the final round. The leader has a win drought of almost four years and there are a host of top quality players in the chasing pack.

Paul Casey and Danny Lee both finished strongly and can be expected to start round four in the same fashion. Casey's lone US Tour victory came in Texas – the 2009 Houston Open – and the Englishman has given himself a good chance of an overdue follow-up in the same state.

The course has been softened by an overnight thunderstorm and less wind and heat is forecast for round four. The easier conditions are bad news for Simpson, who seems likely to have players charging at him from the off.

Racing Post Sport followers are in a good position and round-four betting plans are coloured by pre-tournament investments. Two of our three ante-post selections are in contention – Lee at 80-1 and Kevin Kisner at 33-1 – so it is a question of whether any cover is needed.

Casey at 9-2 is the recommendation for cautious punters who have backed Lee and Kisner and are looking to further strengthen their position. Casey has been creating numerous birdie chances and is a serious threat to the pre-tournament tips.

Simpson and Stewart Cink may go backwards. Jon Rahm, Sean O'Hair and Jordan Spieth seem likely to apply pressure from behind, but Casey, Lee and Kisner could be jousting for the title over the closing holes, all three of them seeking a second US Tour victory. Lee looks vastly over-priced at 15-2 given how impressive he has been over the last two days, a performance culminating in a bogey-free back-nine.

Final-round threeballs punters are pointed towards Spieth, who is putting well again and could tear up Colonial Country Club in straightforward conditions. He finished this tournament with a flourish last year and can account for Sergio Garcia and Scott Piercy today (5.42pm).

Another Texan, the Dallas-based Kelly Kraft, is a decent price against Scott Brown and Brian Gay in the 5.09pm match. The final threeball of Simpson, Casey and Lee are scheduled to tee off at 6.15pm UK and Ireland time.

Threeball recommendations
J Spieth
2pts 13-10 bet365

K Kraft
1pt 23-10 Betfair, Power

He is winless since the ban on anchored putters arrived
E.W. Terms
Sky bet