Returning Finau could flop at venue he is yet to conquer
English and Swafford value outsiders
Sky Sports Golf, 1pm Thursday
Harris English and Hudson Swafford are such similar players that they often get mistaken for one another at tournaments and these great friends should make a formidable pairing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
English and the slightly older Swafford both attended the University of Georgia before establishing themselves on the US Tour, and both have gone on to become champions. English has two victories, Swafford one, and future success seems likely.
The comfort that English and Swafford have alongside each other gives them the edge over Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays in their 1.26pm (UK and Ireland time) first-round fourballs match at TPC Louisiana.
Loose driving has been an issue for English and Swafford this season, but the course and the format take pressure off this department of the game in round one. There is plenty of room off the tee and they get two goes at finding the fairway.
Finau has not been seen since injuring his ankle and finishing tenth in the Masters, while Summerhays has been in dire form. English was sixth in the 2013 Zurich Classic, while Swafford was 12th in the 2015 edition. The duo combined for 32nd place last year in the inaugural Zurich pairs event, while Finau and Summerhays missed the cut. Finau missed the cut in his only Zurich start as an individual, so he is far from certain to carry his bright recent form to this venue.
The other day-one wager which appeals is Sean O'Hair and Jimmy Walker to defeat Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Paisley (1.39pm).
O'Hair, who won the Shark Shootout pairs event alongside Steve Stricker at the end of last year, finished second in the Texas Open on Sunday. Walker, a Major champ and two-time Ryder Cup player, was a shot behind in fourth, so this pair have peaked at the perfect time for the Zurich. Fleetwood and Paisley are a new team who had not seen the course until this week.
The pick of the 72-hole match-bet prices is arguably the 4-5 about Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Sergio Garcia outscoring Wesley Bryan and Jon Rahm. Out-of-form Bryan is a weak link and although rampant Rahm will probably be able to nurse him through the fourballs, the two alternate-shot sessions require Bryan to contribute half the shots.
Cabrera-Bello and Garcia, successful together in a beaten European Ryder Cup side two years ago, can approach the foursomes action with much more confidence.
Punters looking for bigger prices should consider an outright dual-forecast dabble. Bud Cauley and Justin Thomas look the team to beat this week and Sky Bet go 70-1 that this pairing and the fearsome combination of Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed fill the first two places on the leaderboard after 72 holes.
H English & H Swafford to beat T Finau & D Summerhays in round one
2pts 6-4 bet365
S O'Hair & J Walker to beat T Fleetwood & C Paisley in round one
2pts Evens Sky Bet
R Cabrera-Bello & S Garcia to beat W Bryan & J Rahm
2pts 4-5 Coral, Ladbrokes
B Cauley & J Thomas and P Cantlay & P Reed dual forecast
1pt 70-1 Sky Bet
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