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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Dufner and Perez can overcome three-shot deficit

Experienced campaigners to finish strongly

Kevin Kisner is looking to retain his lead with Scott Brown
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 6pm Sunday

Story so far
Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner were gutted to lose a playoff for the Zurich Classic last year and the pair have given themselves a great chance of avenging that loss 12 months later.

Brown and Kisner have reached 20 under par through three rounds this week, looking down on the rest of the field at TPC Louisiana. The leaders, a best-price 40-1 ante-post, are no bigger than 14-5 with 18 holes of foursomes left to play.

The more fancied teams have given themselves a mountain to climb. Pre-tournament favourites, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, are sharing 14th place, five shots behind, while Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay are a further shot off the pace.

Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar are in a tie for 24th spot, seven adrift, while the popular pairings of Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley, and Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer, both missed the cut by a shot.

Leaderboard
-20 Scott Brown & Kevin Kisner
-19 Tony Finau & Daniel Summerhays, Michael Kim & Andrew Putnam
-18 Brice Garnett & Chesson Hadley
-17 Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy, Jason Dufner & Pat Perez, Troy Merritt & Brendon de Jonge

Best prices
14-5 S Brown & K Kisner, 4 T Finau & D Summerhays, 8 M Kim & M Putnam, 17-2 B Garnett & C Hadley, 16 J Dufner & P Perez, B Horschel & S Piercy, 25 T Fleetwood & C Paisley, J Rose & H Stenson, 28 C Schwartzel & L Oosthuizen, 35 bar

Final-round advice
A challenging tournament for punters becomes more straightforward with just 18 holes to play and only one type of golf remaining. The fourballs are done and dusted, with only a session of foursomes remaining.

Foursomes golf is principally about tee-to-green solidity and keeping your scorecard as clean as possible. Any loose shots can quickly result in disaster, as Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer found to their cost when closing with two double-bogeys on Friday to miss the cut by a shot.

The alternate-shot format exposes any weak link in a duo and preference is for controlled operators who can churn out fairways and greens. The pairing which stands out on the leaderboard as best equipped to secure a raft of Sunday pars and take the title is Jason Dufner and Pat Perez.

Dufner and Perez both possess a tight long-game – accurate through the bag – and this experienced team should retain composure in what seems likely to be a close finish. Former USPGA champion Dufner is a calm character who is the perfect foil for the often fiery Perez. The pair, both in their early 40s, can boast eight US Tour victories between them.

Dufner has missed three cuts in his last five events, but all were by a single shot, and a bright effort in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play a month ago showed that form is bubbling under the surface. He beat Jason Day and James Hahn, before losing a playoff to Louis Oosthuizen.

Dufner won his maiden US Tour title in the 2012 Zurich Classic, having finished third the year prior, so TPC Louisiana is a happy hunting ground. Perez won the CIMB Classic in October and is the world No. 22.

While Dufner and Perez should hang tough in the final round, the pairs around them may suffer due to one player being too erratic. Scott Brown arrived at TPC Louisiana in miserable form and may hit too many destructive shots alongside Kevin Kisner.

Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays are probably too wild to get the job done, Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam are both US Tour maidens likely to tighten up at the business end of the event, while Chesson Hadley and Scott Piercy are two ultra-attacking bombers who could drag down their respective partners.

Expect Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, and Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed, to move up the leaderboard, but overtaking Dufner and Perez is unlikely to be straightforward. Dufner and Perez are the value at the prices, with each-way terms of a quarter the odds for three places still available.

Outright recommendation
J Dufner & P Perez
1pt each-way 16-1 Betway

Dufner is a calm character who is the perfect foil for the often fiery Perez
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