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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Kisner set to become Harbour Town king despite slow start

Carolina man going through the gears

Kevin Kisner has been awesome over the last 36 holes
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Story so far

Jason Dufner surged to the top of the Heritage leaderboard by playing his final five holes of the third round in three under par, the pre-tournament 40-1 chance assuming favouritism.

Dufner, the 2013 USPGA champion, is no bigger than 15-8 with 18 holes to play at the Harbour Town Links in South Carolina.

Graham DeLaet and Luke Donald were the halfway pacesetters. DeLaet did well enough to claim second place on his own going into Sunday, but Donald dropped to a share of sixth spot.

Matt Kuchar, the ante-post 16-1 market leader, is tied for 63rd place, 12 shots adrift, while Brandt Snedeker, 22-1 pre-tournament second-favourite, is in a logjam for 20th spot.


-13 Jason Dufner
-12 Graham DeLaet
-11 Kevin Kisner, Webb Simpson
-10 Ian Poulter
-9 Wesley Bryan, William McGirt, Luke Donald
-8 JJ Spaun, Ollie Schniederjans, Tyrrell Hatton, Nick Taylor

Best prices

15-8 J Dufner, 4 K Kisner, 11-2 G DeLaet, 15-2 W Simpson, 18 I Poulter, 20 L Donald, 25 W McGirt, 28 W Bryan, 33 T Hatton, 66 bar

Today's advice

The Harbour Town Links is the sort of course where Jason Dufner can be a factor. The venue demands precision golf from tee to green, something which Dufner has built a hugely profitable career upon.

Dufner is a relentless fairway finder who is able to plot his way successfully along difficult tracks like this one. The problems for the 40-year-old Ohio man typically come closer to the hole, where his fragile short-game often denies him glory.

Dufner won twice in 2012, then his only Major title in 2013, but a total of only one victory has come in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, his putting woes taking a grip. His last success came via a playoff in last year's CareerBuilder Challenge, with a fair helping of luck at the death, and there is no urge to take the short prices about Dufner successfully finishing his job in South Carolina.

Graham DeLaet is a 35-year-old US Tour maiden who has always made too many Sunday blunders to get over the line in front. A questionable temperament, poor course-management, and a short-game which is perennially one of the weakest on the circuit has denied the Canadian trophies.

DeLaet is difficult to trust, and Webb Simpson makes zero appeal either. Aside from a weekend burst of form at the start of February in the Phoenix Open, which ended in a playoff defeat to Hideki Matsuyama, Simpson has been largely abysmal this year. An ugly swing and the short-game of a 20-handicapper is a poor combination.

Ian Poulter, winless since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions and battling to save his US Tour career, was unimpressive in round three and may be buckling under the pressure of trying to keep full Stateside status. He needs $145,000 from the Heritage and his next event.

With so many negatives about those around him, the leaderboard looks made for Kevin Kisner to secure a second US Tour triumph. Kisner, perhaps sensing what a fantastic opportunity he had on a course which sets up perfectly for him and pushing too hard, carded a shocking first-round 72 on Thursday. Since that surprising flop, though, the local man has been superb.

Kisner fired a second-round 64 and followed up with a Saturday 66, leaving himself in third place, two shots behind. The South Carolina man was unlucky to finish second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational a month ago, and swift redemption could be coming at Harbour Town.

Kisner, accurate from tee to green and typically ruthless with putter in hand, lost a Heritage playoff to Jim Furyk in 2015. Harbour Town glory looks on the cards two years later. Kisner has been in rock-solid form all year and this layout rewards his talents like no other.
The trio at nine under par are dangerous and may hustle Kisner from behind. Wesley Bryan, William McGirt and Luke Donald are each-way options worth considering.

Bryan played Harbour Town countless times in his college days and has shown his affection for the track over the first three rounds of his Heritage debut. The South Carolina-born 27-year-old has already produced some excellent golf in his US Tour rookie campaign and threatened a victory. It would come as no surprise if he threw in a low final round in comfortable surroundings today to set a clubhouse mark.

McGirt is another in-form local lad, while Donald has come close to becoming Heritage champion on numerous occasions and the Englishman relishes the dimensions of Harbour Town.

Confidence in Kisner is high. He was Racing Post Sport's number one selection at 28-1 ante-post and he still looks a bigger price than he should be. The 4-1 available with a round to go is extremely appealing. Those who have already got a significant investment in Kisner, though, may want to consider some each-way cover on Bryan at 28-1.

Bryan, a three-time winner on the Tour last year, is in the hunt. BoyleSports are offering the best price and joint-best each-way terms about Bryan. Kisner should have his measure, but 28-1 Bryan is fair value.

Final-round twoball punters should consider Bryan for the 6.40pm match. Poulter, for all his bluster, is clearly feeling the heat of his US Tour card potentially being torn up. Bryan looks more likely to hold himself together in the third-from-last group out.

Outright recommendation
W Bryan
1pt each-way 28-1 BoyleSports

Twoball recommendation
W Bryan
1pt Evens Hills

With so many negatives about those around him, the leaderboard looks made for Kevin Kisner to secure a second US Tour triumph
E.W. Terms
Sky bet