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Steve Palmer's Zurich Classic of New Orleans third-round preview, best bets

Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler can apply Saturday pressure to the leaders

Tony Finau has combined well with Cameron Champ
1 of 1

Where to watch

Sky Sports Golf, 6pm Saturday

Best bets

Tony Finau & Cameron Champ to win Saturday match
3pts 10-11 general

Marc Leishman & Cameron Smith to win Saturday match
3pts 8-11 general

Charley Hoffman & Nick Watney to win Saturday match
2pts 21-20 bet365

Justin Suh & Doug Ghim to win Saturday match
2pts 4-6 general

Story so far

Cameron Champ and Tony Finau are joint-leaders of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the halfway stage - the power-packed duo taking advantage of a soft TPC Louisiana to reach 13 under par through 36 holes.

Champ and Finau, 16-1 ante-post, followed a best-ball 63 with an alternate-shot 68. Norwegian pairing Viktor Hovland and Kristoffer Ventura, pre-tournament 35-1 chances, went 62-69 to match the total of the longest drivers in the field.

The ante-post market leaders have left themselves plenty of work to do over the weekend. Defending champions Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer are five shots behind, while Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele made the cut by just a shot, leaving themselves a seven-shot deficit for the final 36 holes.

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, third in the pre-tournament betting, are four shots behind. Champ and Finau have become 5-2 favourites.

Leaderboard
-13 Cameron Champ & Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland & Kristoffer Ventura
-11 Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose, Bubba Watson & Scottie Scheffler
-10 Richy Werenski & Peter Uihlein, Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel
-9 Marc Leishman & Cameron Smith, Jason Kokrak & Pat Perez

Best prices
5-2 C Champ & T Finau, 7-2 V Hovland & K Ventura, 7 B Watson & S Scheffler, 11 H Stenson & J Rose, 12 M Leishman & C Smith, 16 R Palmer & J Rahm, 18 L Oosthuizen & C Schwartzel, 33 R Werenski & P Uihlein, 35 J Kokrak & P Perez, 40 bar

Third-round preview

Tony Finau has made a notorious habit of playing the bridesmaid role in individual competitions - his last and only PGA Tour victory was in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open - so maybe a pairs event is just the tonic the nearly-man needed to get some silverware in his enormous hands.

Finau and Champ have formed a close bond - shared off-course causes uniting them as well as a strong appreciation of each other's golf game - and the conditions at TPC Louisiana this week have played into their hands.

Best-ball golf suits Finau and Champ better than alternate-shot - they are much more comfortable attacking - so there is no reason to believe they will falter in round three. Team Send It, as they have been calling themselves, should forge forward on Saturday, before their biggest test comes on Sunday. Can these two brutal but often erratic drivers show enough control in the final-round foursomes to get the job done?

There has been nothing in the recent form of Kristoffer Ventura to suggest he will be able to contribute much over the weekend in tandem with Viktor Hovland. The main threat to Finau and Champ may come from Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler, who got up and down for birdie from a tough spot on the final hole in round two, leaving the course thrilled with their foursomes 69.

Watson and Scheffler should make good progress in the Saturday best-ball, and, like with Finau and Champ, it will be a question of trying to keep a clean scorecard on Sunday. Watson, the 2011 Zurich champion, says he prefers foursomes golf because the rounds are shorter and he is able to keep better focus. The apparent comfort of the unofficial team leader in the Sunday format could be crucial to their chances of success. Scheffler is full of form and confidence, and a first PGA Tour title may be coming for the Texan on Sunday.

The other two teams for outright punters to consider are Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, who relish playing together, and Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith. The all-Aussie duo are great friends and both found form in the lead-up to the event.
Finau and Champ are preferred to Hovland and Ventura in their third-round match (5.45pm UK and Ireland time). And Leishman and Smith can get the better of Jason Kokrak and Pat Perez in the 5.06pm contest.

Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney, bursting with experience and camaraderie, can be fancied against Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Kyle Stanley in the 3.10pm match, while Justin Suh and Doug Ghim can outgun Peter Malnati and Chris Baker (2.57pm).


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Scheffler is full of form and confidence, and a first PGA Tour title may be coming for the Texan
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