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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Slap-happy pairing look dangerous for the weekend

Kuchar and Watson gelling well in Louisiana

Bubb Watson (right) beat Kevin Kisner in the final of the WGC-Match Play last month
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Sky Sports Golf, 6pm Saturday

Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam are the surprise pacesetters at the halfway stage of the Zurich Classic, the ante-post 250-1 rags reaching 13 under par through 36 holes of the pairs event at TPC Louisiana.

Kim and Putnam followed a best-ball round of 62 with a 69 in the alternate-shot session, leaving the more fancied teams trailing in their wake. With 36 holes to play under the same format, Kim and Putnam can still be backed at 8-1 for title glory.

Last year's Zurich playoff losers, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, are a shot behind in second. The pre-tournament 40-1 pokes, have carded 62, 70 to become 5-1 favourites. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, the 9-1 ante-post market leaders, are tied for 13th place, five shots behind, and 9-1 to overcome the deficit. Bud Cauley and Justin Thomas missed the cut by a shot at four under. Only the top 35 and ties progressed.

Outright punters should probably ignore the first page of the leaderboard, which is full of vulnerable pairings likely to tread water over the weekend. The three most appealing prices with two rounds to go are Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson (8-1), Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed (16-1), and Rose and Stenson (9-1).

Kuchar and Watson have bonded surprisingly well, having plenty of fun out there, every birdie greeted by a playful slap in the face to whoever holed the decisive putt. With Watson seemingly relaxed and enjoying the event, this is a dangerous duo who seem likely to contend for the title from just four shots behind.

Cantlay and Reed battled back well from a mid-round wobble in the foursomes, during which both lost their putting boots, closing with three birdies and a par to stay well in the hunt. The Patricks should have a say in matters on Sunday, while Rose and Stenson are full of cheer and can be expected to make a late surge in the final-day foursomes.

Day-three fourballs punters are pointed towards Kuchar and Watson, who should comfortably outgun Whee Kim and Andrew Yun in the 5.02pm (UK and Ireland time) match. Only those with deep pockets will want to play a single at the price, so those looking for a double are advised to add Kisner and Brown, who were brilliant in this event last year and should know too much for Kim and Putnam in the final match.

M Kuchar & B Watson to win fourballs match
4pts 8-13 bet365

K Kisner & S Brown to win fourballs match
2pts 10-11 bet365

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Cantlay and Reed battled back well from a mid-round wobble in the foursomes
E.W. Terms
Sky bet