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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Imperious Spieth looks set to fend off charging Johnson

Dustin can take runner-up spot

Jordan Spieth has been under par in every round this year
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Story so far
Jordan Spieth has been in imperious form over the first three days of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the world number six moving to 17 under par with 18 holes to play.

Spieth, 10-1 with Betfred in their opening show and easy to back at 9-1 generally, has forged a six-shot lead going into the final round.

No bigger than 1-10 is available about the dual Major champion converting his advantage into the ninth victory of his US Tour career.

Brandt Snedeker, twice a Pebble Beach champion, leads the chasing pack, while pre-tournament favourite Dustin Johnson is sharing third place, a shot behind Snedeker.

World number one Jason Day was in terrible form in round three, slumping to five over par for the round through six holes at Pebble on his way to a 75. The Australian was tied for the lead at the halfway stage but has drifted ten shots off the pace.

-17 Jordan Spieth
-11 Brandt Snedeker
-10 Dustin Johnson, Kelly Kraft
-9 Rob Oppenheim
-8 Geoff Ogilvy, Derek Fathauer, Scott Stallings, Jon Rahm, Kevin Chappell

Best prices
1-10 J Spieth, 14 B Snedeker, 16 D Johnson, 125 bar

Final-round advice
The putting of Jordan Spieth at Pebble Beach in round three was superb – he needed his flat-stick just ten times on the back-nine –and the Texan wizard is approaching the same course with bundles of confidence for the final 18 holes.

Spieth signed off with back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th, following his Friday 65 at Spyglass Hill with a Saturday 65 at Pebble to stretch clear in the three-course event.

Spieth had a target in his mind of 68 for his Pebble assignment, saying he was hunting a couple of birdies on each nine, but he excelled himself. The distance this gritty competitor has put between himself and the rest means a Sunday 68 will almost certainly be enough to take the title.

Spieth is unlikely to get complacent, with two Ryder Cup colleagues on his tail. Brandt Snedeker is a dual course-and-distance champion and half of his US Tour victories have come in California. And US Open champion Dustin Johnson is also a two-time Pebble victor.

Both Snedeker and Johnson have the ability to go extremely low on this layout, so Spieth may find himself having to deal with a charging compatriot. Spieth is determined to win a US Tour event in California for the first time and should be fully focused from the off.

Racing Post Sport followers are in a strong position, with an ante-post each-way investment on Spieth at 9-1, along with a Spieth-Johnson dual-forecast wager at 45-1.

Snedeker is the fly in the ointment and cautious punters may want to take some cover on the former FedEx Cup winner at 14-1. He was unimpressive when contending in the Farmers Insurance Open last time out, though, and may not be fully comfortable with recent swing changes. Snedeker, twice a Farmers champ, dropped from first place to ninth with a final-round 73 at Torrey Pines.

Preference is for a bold play and what is essentially a press-up on the dual-forecast investment. Johnson looks a massive price at 9-4 in the outright betting without Spieth.

Johnson was rusty and inconsistent at the start of the year, but has looked much sharper this week, and it would come as a surprise should he fail to finish with a flourish on one of his favourite tracks.

Catching Spieth may be mission impossible – the tournament leader has been working his socks off for months in a bid to make a strong start to this term and has been under-par in every 2017 round – but Johnson can outscore everyone else.

Spieth and Snedeker are due on the tee at 5.50pm UK and Ireland time in the final match.

D Johnson without J Spieth
3pts 9-4 Betway, BoyleSports

Johnson was rusty and inconsistent at the start of the year, but has looked much sharper this week
E.W. Terms
Sky bet