Patton Kizzire approaching Sony Sunday with confidence
Chris Kirk still well in the hunt
Sky Sports Golf, 11pm Sunday
Story so far
The Sony Open in Hawaii is being led by a 300-1 rag after Tom Hoge overtook early pacesetter Brian Harman at Waialae Country Club.
Harman, 22-1 ante-post, had shortened to 15-8 after opening up a three-shot halfway advantage, but a humdrum third-round 68 allowed the chasing pack to close on the little left-hander.
Hoge, a US Tour maiden who retained his playing rights with a strong performance in the Web.com Tour Finals, birdied the final two holes of round three to poke his nose in front. The 28-year-old leads Harman and Patton Kizzire by a shot.
Saturday at Waialae started with players being texted about an incoming missile, which turned out to be a false alarm. John Peterson, who slumped to a third-round 74 to drop from second place to 40th, started his morning hiding under mattresses in his hotel bathtub with his wife, child and in-laws. The panic lasted just under an hour.
Pre-tournament 5-1 chance Jordan Spieth is in a share of 28th spot, nine shots behind, while defending champion Justin Thomas is three shots better off in a tie for ninth. Hoge is 11-2 for victory, while Harman is 14-5 favourite.
-16 Tom Hoge
-15 Patton Kizzire, Brian Harman
-14 Kyle Stanley
-13 Chris Kirk
-12 Russell Knox, Ollie Schniederjans
-11 Cameron Smith
-10 Justin Thomas, Sam Saunders, Webb Simpson, Brian Stuard, Talor Gooch
14-5 B Harman, 4 P Kizzire, 11-2 T Hoge, 6 K Stanley, 12 C Kirk, 22 O Schniederjans, 25 R Knox, 30 J Thomas, 35 C Smith, 80 W Simpson, 125 bar
Brian Harman has won only twice on the US Tour and an unconvincing performance on Saturday at the Sony Open highlighted the reasons why. Players could be forgiven for not being at their best mentally after the morning missile drama, but this was fairly typical of the way Harman behaves when in contention.
Arguably in the form of his life and carrying a three-shot lead into the weekend, there was an opportunity for Harman to take total control of the Sony Open. He failed to do so, getting agitated with movement in the galleries throughout, leaving the event wide open with 18 holes to play.
Harman deserves slight favouritism – he has been in solid nick all season and is extremely well suited to Waialae – but there is no urge to take the short price after that stuttering Saturday. Patton Kizzire appears better value at a general 4-1.
Kizzire is on the same score as Harman, but could be much happier with the way he played in round three, and also has recent experience of winning a title. Kizzire fended off a world-class player – Rickie Fowler – on his way to a US Tour breakthrough in the OHL Classic in November.
Kizzire opened round three of the Sony with a double-bogey six, but fought back with eight birdies and nine pars to complete a second consecutive 64.
Tom Hoge is inexperienced and has never even won on the Web.com Tour. This is the first time Hoge has held a 54-hole lead on the US Tour and it is reasonable to expect him to fold. Hoge is the only one of the top five without a US Tour victory under his belt.
Kizzire and Harman should remain in the thick of things to the finish line, while Chris Kirk, a 125-1 Racing Post Sport ante-post selection, is still in with a decent shout from only three behind Hoge.
Anyone from ten under par, where Justin Thomas resides, and upwards, probably still has a shot at the trophy, with Kizzire, Harman and Kirk the most likely champions. The weak putting of Kyle Stanley may deny him glory on another low-scoring Honolulu day, with sunshine and light breezes forecast.
Kirk would obviously be a fantastic result for Racing Post Sport followers, and hopefully he can at least deliver an each-way payout, but overcoming a two-shot deficit on Kizzire will be challenging. An extra investment in Kizzire at 4-1 is recommended.
Final-round threeball punters are pointed towards Kizzire for his 9.20pm UK and Ireland time contest against Hoge and Harman.
1pt 4-1 general
1pt 7-4 general
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