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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Tony Finau could threaten from off the pace

Brooks Koepka remains in rampant mood

Dustin Johnson has won this tournament twice before
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 6pm Saturday

Golf punters must be starting to wonder whether backing Brooks Koepka to win every time he plays is a sensible course of action. The on-fire Floridian charged to the top of the leaderboard in round two of The Northern Trust, seeking his third victory in seven events.

Koepka won the US Open just over two months ago, then the US PGA last time out, quickly becoming a three-time Major champion, and The Northern Trust title is in his sights this weekend after he breezed to ten under par through 36 holes at Ridgewood Country Club.

Birdies are coming easy at the moment to Koepka, who was a stand-out 14-1 with Ladbrokes ante-post. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas were ahead of Koepka in the ante-post betting, but big Brooks eagled the 13th hole in round two, then closed with three consecutive birdies to take control at the halfway stage.

Koepka is no bigger than 5-2 for Northern Trust glory, while co-leader Jamie Lovemark, 200-1 at the outset, is a general 12-1 to provide a surprise champion for the New Jersey galleries.

Johnson looks the main threat to Koepka at this stage. Despite carding a triple-bogey in each of the first two rounds, Johnson has opened with a pair of 67s to tie for fourth place, two shots behind. Aside from those two horror holes, the world number one has played beautifully, and he has already won this tournament twice before.

Koepka and Johnson are probably going to be tough to beat, but outright punters seeking juicier prices should consider Tony Finau at 33-1 and Jason Day at 22-1. Finau finally appears to have found a putting stroke which could be effective – his stance and grip has looked much more secure this week – while Day closed round two with a pair of textbook birdies and should have plenty to offer over the weekend.

From four and five shots behind respectively, Finau and Day could force their way into the picture if Koepka and Johnson tread water.

Third-round twoball punters are pointed towards Finau, who can outscore Phil Mickelson in the 6pm (UK and Ireland time) match. Mickelson has been getting away with some wayward driving, but Ridgewood, full of tall trees and heavy rough, seems likely to soon take its revenge.

Aaron Wise did not have a par in his closing 11 holes of round two – he carded six birdies and five bogeys – and the explosive youngster can be fancied to have too much for Sam Ryder in the 4.30pm 'moving-day' contest.

Twoball recommendations
T Finau
2pts Evens general
A Wise
2pts 5-6 general

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Finau finally appears to have found a putting stroke which could be effective
E.W. Terms
Sky bet