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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Tailed-off Justin Thomas may struggle for morning motivation

DeChambeau can take advantage

Dustin Johnson has become Kapalua favourite
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 8pm Saturday

Brian Harman and Marc Leishman, 30-1 and 25-1 respectively ante-post, are tied for the lead at the Sentry Tournament of Champions after two rounds.

The in-form duo have reached ten under par through 36 holes at a breezy Plantation Course in Hawaii, but world number one Dustin Johnson is only one shot behind, alone in third. Johnson is favourite, with no bigger than 3-1 available, with Leishman and Harman next in the betting.

Jordan Spieth fought back in round two after a poor Thursday effort, the Open champion firing a seven-under-par 66 to leave himself with a five-shot weekend deficit to overcome. Rickie Fowler is one shot closer to the lead. Spieth is 11-1, Fowler is 12-1.

Defending champion Justin Thomas has left himself needing a miracle to keep hold of the trophy. Thomas is ten shots off the pace and 200-1 for victory.

More strong breezes are forecast for the final two rounds and the event looks wide-open at the halfway stage. Chris Stroud and Jhonattan Vegas probably lack the class to keep pace with the talent surrounding them on the leaderboard, while Jason Dufner is also difficult to fancy, but everyone else from Spieth upwards looks a possible champion.

Johnson, Leishman, Fowler and Spieth could serve up a superb Sunday shootout, although the latter duo have less margin for error in round three if they want to be in the thick of things. Fowler, who turned a seven-shot final-day deficit into a four-shot victory in his previous event, will still be fancying his chances of success.

The third round tees off at 5pm UK and Ireland time, with back-markers Brooks Koepka and DA Points. Harman and Leishman comprise the final twoball at 7.40pm.

Thomas has struggled for focus and form this week, and that seems likely to get only worse given he is tailed off. Bryson DeChambeau, methodical and determined, will play slowly and purposefully alongside Thomas in the 5.30pm twoball and is definitely the value option.

Improving Australian youngster Cameron Smith can account for Ryan Armour in the 5.50pm contest, while Kevin Chappell can be fancied to beat Xander Schauffele in the 6.10pm match. Schauffele has just switched to new clubs, moving from TaylorMade to Callaway, so is vulnerable as he adjusts.

B DeChambeau
2pts 11-5 Betfred
C Smith
2pts 8-11 general
K Chappell
2pts 6-5 general

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Johnson, Leishman, Fowler and Spieth could serve up a superb Sunday shootout
E.W. Terms
Sky bet