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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Steele a solid wager on course he relishes

Cauley can make third-round charge

Bud Cauley was swinging with authority in round two
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Defending champion Brendan Steele was a 33-1 chance ante-post for a successful Safeway Open title defence, but is no bigger than 11-4 after an excellent opening 36 holes.

Steele followed up a first-round 65 with a Friday 67 to reach 12 under par at the halfway stage of the low-key event at the Silverado Resort, California. That left him alone in second place, one shot behind 200-1 pacesetter Tyler Duncan.

Steele is likely to top the market for a long time, given he also impressed in this tournament in 2015, leading into the final round before a back-nine 40 saw him plummet from his perch. The Californian is extremely comfortable at Silverado and the most likely champion. Duncan is a 28-year-old Tour graduate who is as surprised as anyone that he tops the board.

Chesson Hadley (7-1), Tony Finau (7-1), Bill Haas (25-1), Emiliano Grillo (25-1), Phil Mickelson (25-1) and Bud Cauley (40-1) are lurking just off the pace and well capable of making a charge on 'moving day', but all have given Steele a handy start.

Third-round threeball punters are pointed towards Cauley, who provided a long-game masterclass in round two, but suffered badly on the greens. The maiden has clearly got his swing in terrific order for the opening event of the season, but missed six birdie putts of 15-feet or shorter yesterday.

If Cauley can get his rock rolling better today, a low score is likely, which should be enough to deal with playing partners Martin Laird and Tom Hoge in the 7.10pm (UK and Ireland time) contest.

Threeball recommendation
B Cauley
2pts 7-5 bet365

E.W. Terms
Sky bet