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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Dead-eye drivers to flourish at the Harbour Town Links

Francesco Molinari should get in the mix

Francesco Molinari is a dependable driver
1 of 1

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Francesco Molinari licks his lips with excitement whenever he arrives at a course which puts a premium on accurate driving and the precise Italian can be fancied to end the week as top continental European in the Heritage at Harbour Town Links.

Molinari is often handicapped by a lack of driving distance, but that is not a significant issue at Harbour Town, a layout which requires players to carefully plot their way to success. Finding the cut-and-prepared off the tee is the key to contending in the Heritage.

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Molinari has been in steady form, with US Tour figures of 25-26-17-20, and progressive Heritage results of MC-45-22 suggest his fourth visit will be a profitable one. From an early first-round tee-time, expect the former Ryder Cup star to set up a solid week.

Martin Kaymer is second-favourite in the continentals market, but the German has been labouring with a wrist injury and finished 48th of 53 weekend qualifiers in the Masters on Sunday. This section looks at the mercy of Molinari.

Punters can consider a tops double, with Russell Knox also looking a strong option for top Scot. Knox, like Molinari, is a relentless fairway-finder and the dimensions of Harbour Town suits him more than compatriot Martin Laird. Knox was Heritage runner-up in 2016.

Paul Casey, hampered by a hip injury at Augusta last week, managed to conjure a final-round 65 in the Masters, but Harbour Town does not set up well for the Englishman and he missed the cut there on his last visit. Matt Kuchar, the 2014 Heritage champion, represents excellent value as 6-5 outsider to defeat Casey.

Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, two typically arrow-straight drivers, can also be fancied to deliver match-bet success against Charley Hoffman and Jason Kokrak respectively. Johnson was Heritage runner-up in 2012, while Dufner has made his last eight Heritage cuts and finished 11th last year.

F Molinari top continental
3pts 5-6 general
R Knox top Scot
2pts 8-13 general
M Kuchar to beat P Casey
2pts 6-5 Coral, Ladbrokes
Z Johnson to beat C Hoffman
2pts 10-11 Betfred
J Dufner to beat J Kokrak
1pt 20-21 BoyleSports

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Molinari is often handicapped by a lack of driving distance, but that is not a significant issue at Harbour Town
E.W. Terms
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