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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Johnson and Rahm set to square up in mouthwatering final

World number one full of composure

Dustin Johnson has been in total control of his game this week
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Story so far

Just four players are left in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, including world number one Dustin Johnson.

Three US Tour victories in a row are a possibility for Johnson, who won the Genesis Open and the WGC-Mexico Championship in his last starts, as well as the chance to become the first player in history to win all of the World Golf Championship events.

Johnson, 10-1 second-favourite on tournament-eve, is odds-on across the board going into the fifth and final day of Match Play competition. He has beaten Webb Simpson, Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson and Alex Noren to reach the semi-finals.

Hideto Tanihara is a shock semi-finalist who faces Johnson in the 3pm (UK and Ireland time) fixture today. Tanihara was a 300-1 rag at the outset, but he thrashed Ross Fisher in the quarter-finals to progress.

Jon Rahm, 25-1 ante-post, and Bill Haas, who was available at 100-1, will contest the other semi-final at 3.15pm. The final and third-place match will follow the semis.

Semi-finals (with best match prices)

3pm: D Johnson (2-7) v H Tanihara (3-1)
3.15pm: J Rahm (4-7) v B Haas (13-8)

Best outright prices

19-20 D Johnson, 9-4 J Rahm, 6 B Haas, 11 H Tanihara

Day-five advice

Dustin Johnson is enjoying his world number one status and looking every inch like the best player on the planet.

Johnson has performed superbly throughout the WGC-Match Play, getting off to a fast start in every match, quickly asserting himself over opponents. All of them have wilted and been seen off early, apart from Alex Noren, who fought back to all-square through 12 holes of their quarter-final. Johnson's response to the challenge? Making birdie at three of the next four holes to win 3&2.

The way Johnson reacted to suddenly having someone alongside him bodes well for the rest of the competition. Confidence is oozing out of the giant Carolinan and somebody is going to have to play extremely well to beat him.

Racing Post Sport followers are on Johnson ante-post at 10-1 and an exciting day lies in store. Cautious punters with a serious investment in big Dustin may want to consider some cover on Jon Rahm at 9-4.

It would be an enormous shock should Hideto Tanihara manage to keep his fairytale going by beating Johnson. Tanihara has massively overachieved in reaching this stage and the 38-year-old Japanese raider will surely be overwhelmed by his opponent and the occasion today.

Rahm is the name which will have caught Johnson's attention. Rahm is not a banker for his semi-final against Bill Haas – a former FedEx Cup champion with plenty of Presidents Cup experience – but the Spaniard can be expected to progress to the final.

A Johnson versus Rahm final is on the cards and that is when Johnson-backers will get twitchy. Rahm is a seemingly fearless character who has taken to matchplay golf like the proverbial duck to water. His naturally aggressive style of play fits the format well and none of his opponents have been able to handle his power and touch this week.

A Johnson versus Rahm final is expected, with Johnson edging a close contest. Johnson has got into the winning habit and will probably hold himself together better over the final few holes. Haas can grind his way to victory in the third-place consolation match.

Johnson has birdied the first hole four times in five matches, and he has gone one-up through one hole in every match. Given the nerves Tanihara will inevitably be feeling, Ladbrokes's offer of 2-1 about Johnson winning the first hole of their semi-final is generous.

Ladbrokes are also betting on correct scores for the semis. A heavy Johnson victory is worth considering.

Recommendations
D Johnson (2-7) & J Rahm (4-7)
3pts double bet365

D Johnson to win the first hole
1pt 2-1 Ladbrokes

D Johnson to beat H Tanihara 6&5
1pt 25-1 Ladbrokes

It would be an enormous shock should Hideto Tanihara manage to keep his fairytale going by beating Johnson
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