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Steve Palmer's Olympics men's golf competition final-round preview, best bets

Hideki Matsuyama can overtake Xander Schauffele and claim gold for Japan

Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters in April to become a Major champion
1 of 1

Golf tips, best bets and player analysis for the final round of the Olympic golf tournament in Tokyo.

Where to watch

Eurosport, 5.45am Sunday

Best bets

Paul Casey without Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele
2pts 3-1 Betfair, Power

Story so far

Xander Schauffele leads the Olympics men's golf competition going into the final round - a closing birdie edging the American a shot ahead of local hero Hideki Matsuyama.

Schauffele, 9-1 ante-post and behind only Open champion Collin Morikawa in the betting, is 7-4 favourite with 18 holes to play on the East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Schauffele's mother was raised in Japan and he may have a few supporters in the Land of the Rising Sun, but 99 percent of the Japanese will be willing the leader to fail. That is because Matsuyama, revered in his homeland as a golfing god, is leading the pursuit of Schauffele.

Matsuyama, a pre-tournament 14-1 chance, is 11-4 going into the denouement. The Masters champion is looking to put the icing on the cake of the greatest year of his career by slipping a gold medal into the pocket of his Green Jacket.

Leaderboard
-14 Xander Schauffele
-13 Hideki Matsuyama
-12 Paul Casey, Carlos Ortiz
-11 Sebastian Munoz, Rory McIlroy, Mito Pereira, Sepp Straka
-10 Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry

Best prices
7-4 X Schauffele, 11-4 H Matsuyama, 7 P Casey, 11 R McIlroy, 12 C Ortiz, 25 S Munoz, M Pereira, 40 S Lowry, T Fleetwood, S Straka, 80 bar

Final-round preview

The final round starts at 11.30pm UK and Ireland time Saturday night, with the leaders out at 3.09am Sunday morning, and Eurosport appear to have come to the rescue of golf fans left fuming by the paucity of coverage on the BBC. There has been a tokenism to the BBC's approach to covering the Olympic quest of the Open champion and others this week, but Eurosport are promising live coverage from 5.45am to the finish line.

Brilliance from an American meant Hideki Matsuyama had to settle for second place in the first and only PGA Tour event in Japan - the 2019 Zozo Championship - and Matsuyama's fans will be praying that a similar story does not develop at Kasumigaseki CC.

The man who denied Matsuyama in the Zozo, though, was Tiger Woods - the greatest player ever to swing a club and the most clinical finisher of tournaments in history. This time, the American standing in Matsuyama's way is a different kettle of fish - a player who is winless since January, 2019, and who has developed the jitters in contention.

Xander Schauffele has finished runner-up eight times since his last victory. One of those near-misses came when he dumped his tee-shot in the greenside water at the 16th hole at Augusta on Masters Sunday in April, essentially handing the Green Jacket to Matsuyama in the process.

The 11-4 Matsuyama is more attractive than the 7-4 Schauffele. Matsuyama was a prolific champion in his homeland before joining the PGA Tour, and he won a junior event on Kasumigaseki's East Course by four shots in 2009.

If Schauffele wobbles in front again - as he has been doing for the last two and a half years - then Matsuyama can take full advantage and deliver the gold his nation craves.

Paul Casey, a shot behind Matsuyama in a tie for third, may end up proving more of a title threat than Schauffele. Rory McIlroy, who has warmed to the Olympic experience as the week has worn on, must also be feared from only three shots off the pace.

Matsuyama (14-1) and Casey (16-1) were Racing Post Sport pre-tournament recommendations, so hopes are high of a return. McIlroy and Schauffele appear the main obstacles to clear.

Punters yet to have an outright bet are pointed towards Paddy Power's 'Power price' of 100-30 about Matsuyama winning gold. Those already on Matsuyama and seeking an extra investment should consider the more than fair 3-1 about Casey in an outright market without Matsuyama and Schauffele (Betfair and Power).

Gold for Matsuyama, silver for Casey, bronze for Schauffele may be the end result.


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If Schauffele wobbles in front again - as he has been doing for the last two and a half years - then Matsuyama can take full advantage
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