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Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Jason Day takes over as favourite after scrambling masterclass

Aaron Wise threatening maiden victory

Aaron Wise is a rising star of the US Tour
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 6pm Saturday

Peter Malnati was available at 1,000-1 ante-post for the Wells Fargo Championship, but the outsider leads by a shot going into the weekend and is no bigger than 16-1 to successfully finish the job.

Malnati won the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship, his first and only US Tour title, after winning twice on the Web.com Tour. His 2018 form figures of MC-MC-MC-MC-35-MC-49-MC-MC-67-64 did not indicate he would be a factor at Quail Hollow this week.

Chasing Malnati in Charlotte, North Carolina, is former world number one, Jason Day, who has become clear tournament favourite. Day, 20-1 at the outset, is a best-price 13-5 from only one shot off the lead.

The reason for the short Day odds is the fact that the pre-tournament market principals have given themselves much work to do over the final 36 holes. Rory McIlroy, ante-post 8-1 favourite, carded a miserable second-round 76 to drop into 48th position. Justin Thomas is in a share of 28th, seven shots behind Malnati, while Rickie Fowler is a shot better off.

Day is obviously a class act in second place, but it has been magical short-game work which has put him there. The Australian has had a 100 percent sand-save record (eight from eight), making up for errant approaches. There is no urge to take the skinny prices on a demanding tee-to-green layout where inconsistent ball-striking is typically punished severely.

Paul Casey has overcome a recent hip niggle to move into fourth place, but the Englishman is difficult to trust in contention. Aaron Wise (14-1), a top-class youngster who seems likely to shed his maiden tag this year or next, and Charl Schwartzel (12-1), the former Masters champion who found some form in the Zurich Classic last week, are arguably the best value options on the leaderboard.

Kyle Stanley (four shots behind and 33-1), Emiliano Grillo (four behind and 28-1), Bryson DeChambeau (five behind and 40-1) and Thomas (25-1) seem the most likely candidates to make a charge from slightly off the pace. All four are quality ball-strikers on a course with firm greens which is playing tough.

Third-round twoball punters are pointed towards Wise (6.40pm), who is likely to prove himself in a completely different league to playing partner Malnati over the next decade, and DeChambeau (5.40pm), who has got his tail up after a brilliant second-round 65 and can be fancied to see off Shawn Stefani with a degree of comfort.

Recommendations
A Wise
3pts 5-6 Betfred

B DeChambeau
3pts 4-6 BoyleSports


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All four are quality ball-strikers on a course with firm greens which is playing tough
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