Thomas and Kuchar to apply pressure on nervous leader
Summerhays chasing maiden title
Story so far
Daniel Summerhays was freely available at 250-1 for the Memorial Tournament ante-post, but the US Tour maiden has built a three-shot lead going into the final round at Muirfield Village.
Summerhays started round three five shots adrift of halfway pacesetter Jason Dufner, but quickly overtook the 2013 USPGA champion. While Dufner blundered his way to a 77, Summerhays carded a 68 to take pole position.
Summerhays is no bigger than 13-5 to convert his advantage into a breakthrough triumph. Matt Kuchar, the 2013 Memorial winner, is alone in second place and a 4-1 chance. Dufner is tied for third spot alongside Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas.
Ante-post 6-1 favourite Dustin Johnson missed the cut, along with Jon Rahm. Jason Day fired a third-round 67 to move up to 27th place, ten shots behind Summerhays.
-13 Daniel Summerhays
-10 Matt Kuchar
-9 Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner
-8 Rickie Fowler, Jamie Lovemark
-7 Kevin Streelman, Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth
13-5 D Summerhays, 4 M Kuchar, 7 J Thomas, 8 B Watson, 10 J Dufner, 12 R Fowler, 16 J Spieth, 28 J Lovemark, 33 K Kisner, 70 bar
Daniel Summerhays grew in confidence during round three as Jason Dufner imploded alongside him, but Matt Kuchar is likely to provide stiffer twoball opposition today.
Kuchar has a fantastic record of consistency at Muirfield Village, where he won four years ago and can boast seven additional top-15 finishes. He was runner-up in 2011.
Comfortable Kuchar to beat Summerhays looks an excellent twoball investment (6.45pm UK and Ireland time). Muirfield Village is set to play tougher than it has all week, with difficult pin positions and some wind forecast. The long-game of Summerhays can be fragile, while Kuchar is typically supremely accurate.
Throw in the inevitable nerves of the maiden and the fact he does not need to beat Kuchar in this match to win the trophy, and you have a terrific wager. Summerhays is likely to play defensively from the off, while Kuchar will be looking to make inroads in the deficit.
As for the outright market, Summerhays is unappealing. Dufner highlighted in round three how much danger lurks at Muirfield Village for those not in full control, and the new leader could lose his advantage just as quickly. Juicy rough, water hazards and lightning fast greens make this a daunting assignment.
The most likely champions may be Kuchar and Justin Thomas. Dufner lost the plot in round three and his putting confidence disappeared, while Bubba Watson has been serving up tripe for most of this season. Thomas looks by far the most likely to go forward from the trio sharing third place.
Thomas has been excellent from tee to green this week and his long putting has been better than ever. A few missed short putts have denied him the chance of being right up there alongside Summerhays, but his overall game appears in good enough shape for him to claim this title.
A fourth US Tour victory of the season – and his fifth in total – looks within the grasp of Thomas from four shots behind Summerhays. Rickie Fowler, five shots behind, has a poor record on this track and looked uncomfortable in round three, while Jamie Lovemark is probably too inaccurate and lacking in putting touch to seriously threaten from the same position.
Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner are still in the hunt from six shots behind, but Kuchar and Thomas are the men for in-running punters to concentrate on.
Thomas was freely available at 40-1 on tournament-eve and was the headline selection of Racing Post Sport. Those who have a decent investment at that price may want to consider some cover on Kuchar at 4-1. For punters yet to get involved, Thomas is a more than fair price at 7-1. Both parties should consider the 8-13 about Kuchar winning his twoball.
4pts 8-13 Betfair, Power