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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Tony Finau set to make flying start in soft conditions

Martin Laird could upset European rivals

Tony Finau has become a top-class ball-striker
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 8pm Thursday

Matches and threeballs
Tony Finau was walking even taller than usual after the Open Championship, fifth place at Carnoustie underlining what a world-class talent the 6ft 4in American has become, and there is every reason to believe he will boss his Canadian Open first-round threeball.

Finau, who closed with a 65 at Glen Abbey in 2015 and finished fifth at the track 12 months ago, should find the rain-softened course particularly welcoming this week. The venue looks likely to be dominated by bombers and Finau can leave his powder-puff playing partners Kevin Kisner and Matt Kuchar in his wake (1pm UK and Ireland time).

Keith Mitchell, another American who gives his ball a seriously healthy ride off the tee, can be expected to enjoy the set-up and defeat Sean O'Hair and Ryan Palmer in the process. Mitchell, second in the Puntacana Championship, sixth in the Houston Open, third in the AT&T Byron Nelson and seventh in the John Deere Classic last time out, is having a superb rookie campaign.

Troy Merritt, Barbasol Championship winner on Sunday night, can ping the lids at Glen Abbey to outscore Mackenzie Hughes and Graeme McDowell (6.05pm), while Bubba Watson looks the pick of the 72-hole match-bet options against Sergio Garcia.

Watson, a three-time US Tour champion this year, was Glen Abbey runner-up in 2015.

Garcia can be opposed again in the top European market. There are questions over all the market leaders, who have trekked over the Atlantic from Carnoustie, and powerful Scot Martin Laird could be worth chancing at a big price at the track where he finished second in 2016.

T Finau to win threeball
3pts 6-4 BoyleSports
K Mitchell to win threeball
3pts 5-4 general
T Merritt to win threeball
2pts 6-4 general
B Watson to beat S Garcia
2pts 8-11 bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power
M Laird top European
1pt each-way 14-1 BetBright

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The venue looks likely to be dominated by bombers
E.W. Terms
Sky bet