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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Kisner could be set for final-round charge

Inexperienced Cook looking for maiden win

Kevin Kisner is hunting another juicy cheque
1 of 1

Story so far

Austin Cook leads the RSM Classic by three shots going into the final round at the Seaside Course, Georgia, the ante-post 90-1 chance dominating proceedings.

Cook, a rookie who graduated from the Web.com Tour last season, carded a third-round 66 to extend his advantage at the top of the leaderboard. He is no bigger than 4-6 to make the RSM his maiden US Tour title.

Former RSM Classic champion, Chris Kirk, is alone in second place, while Brian Gay is in third spot, a further shot behind.

Kevin Kisner, 18-1 tournament favourite at the outset, still has hope of rewarding his supporters. Kisner is in fifth place, six shots adrift of Cook.

Leaderboard

-18 Austin Cook
-15 Chris Kirk
-14 Brian Gay
-13 JJ Spaun
-12 Kevin Kisner
-11 Andrew Landry, Vaughn Taylor
-10 Aaron Wise, Zach Johnson, Tyler Duncan, Brian Stuard, Brice Garnett

Best prices

4-6 A Cook, 4 C Kirk, 9 B Gay, 16 JJ Spaun, K Kisner, 80 Z Johnson, V Taylor, A Landry, 150 bar

Final-day advice

Austin Cook was earmarked as the Web.com Tour graduate who could make waves in the first few weeks of the US Tour season and the 26-year-old looks completely at ease on the main circuit. This accurate driver appears to have a long and lucrative career ahead.

Punters who took the juicy ante-post Cook prices this week should be on great terms with themselves, but there is no urge to support the leader at just 4-6 with 18 holes to play.

Cook has never won on the Web.com Tour – his promotion was due to consistency rather than trophies – so is yet to prove himself a champion. It was impressive the way he dealt with leadership in round three, opening up with a flawless four-under-par front nine, but Sundays provide a different challenge.

Cook could manage only a level-par back-nine in the third round, suggesting the situation was tightening him up, and he has three proven US Tour champions breathing down his neck.

Chris Kirk is a course and distance winner, having won the 2013 edition, and he will be relishing the task of hunting down a maiden. Kirk has always been a formidable putter, so is capable of extremely low scoring. The three-shot gap between the four-time US Tour winner and Cook could easily be overcome.

Brian Gay is still very much in the picture, too, from only four shots behind. Gay is also a four-time US Tour champion, although 13 years older than Kirk. Gay has not won since 2013, which may explain why he could manage only a one-under-par 69 in round three, but there are few players on the circuit who drive as accurately as him or putt as well.

JJ Spaun was abysmal when contending for the Shriners Open title at the start of this month, so coming from behind probably suits him, while Kevin Kisner is still a dangerman from fifth spot. Kisner won this event by six shots in 2015, closing with a pair of 64s, and the layout is perfect for him.

Expect Cook to lead for most of the final round, but Kirk, Gay and Kisner to be in close attendance for the closing stretch.

A breezy Sunday is forecast, so scoring could be volatile, and Kisner may be the best value option at 16-1. The Presidents Cup star was contending for the Tour Championship in his last individual outing and can be fancied to hold himself together best if a tight shootout develops between him, Cook, Kirk and Gay.

Kisner also looks the pick of the final-round threeball prices, against Spaun and Andrew Landry in the 4.10pm (UK and Ireland time) contest, while local man Zach Johnson can build on an excellent third round by defeating Aaron Wise and Vaughn Taylor in the 4pm match.

Johnson started the week with his psychologist acting as caddie, but his regular bagman took over for the weekend, and a bogey-free third round resulted.

Outright recommendation
K Kisner
1pt each-way 16-1 Power

Threeballs recommendations
K Kisner
2pts 11-10 general

Z Johnson
2pts Evens general

The Presidents Cup star was contending for the Tour Championship in his last individual outing
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