down cross

Holmes and Watson seem unlikely to crack the case

Leaderboard congested at halfway stage

Patrick Reed and his partner have assumed favouritism
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The partnership of Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith are surprise halfway pacesetters in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans pairs event.

Blixt has been in poor form and was expected to drag rising star Smith down in the 72-hole shootout at TPC Louisiana. The Swede and the Australian could be backed at 125-1 ante-post, but they have reached 15 under par through a round of alternate-shot and a round of best-ball.

The field of 80 pairs has been cut to just 42 (top 35 and ties) for the final 36 holes, which will feature a round of alternate-shot today, then a final round of best-ball tomorrow.

Tournament sponsors Zurich will be fuming that the two superstar pairings in attendance this week have both missed the cut. Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, 6-1 market leaders at the outset, fell two shots shy of the cut-line. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, second in the pre-tournament betting at 7-1, missed out on the weekend by a single shot.

Taking over as Zurich favourites for the weekend are the two Patricks – Cantlay and Reed – who are no bigger than 9-2. Cantlay has been in terrific nick this year, making a sensational comeback from injury, but Reed has been badly struggling since starring at the Ryder Cup.

Blixt and Smith are 6-1, level in the betting with Ryan Palmer and Jordan Smith, who are 12 under par and sharing fifth place.
This event is wide-open with 36 holes to play, and in-running punters should consider the 18-1 on Bud Cauley and Justin Thomas, who are still well in the hunt from five shots behind. They have missed so many chances on the greens over the first two days and any warming of the putters could see a weekend birdie-blitz.

Traders may want to consider backing Alex Cejka and Soren Kjeldsen at 28-1, with view to laying back their bet before the final round. The German and the Dane are such steady performers, who will probably hang around on the leaderboard throughout the foursomes, before being outgunned in the fourballs.

Day-three foursomes punters are pointed towards Harris English and Hudson Swafford, who should prove too steady for the struggling and erratic duo of JB Holmes and Bubba Watson in the 3.33pm contest.

Another appealing wager is Kyle Stanley and Ryan Ruffels to beat Xander Schauffele and Tag Ridings (5.56pm). Stanley and Ruffels topped the leaderboard after the opening foursomes and both have bundles of ability.

The tournament resumes at 3pm UK and Ireland time, with the leading quartet out at 6.40pm.

H English and H Swafford
2pts 8-5 Hills

K Stanley and R Ruffels
2pts 10-11 Betfred

This event is wide-open with 36 holes to play
E.W. Terms
Sky bet