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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Tony Finau to charge at runaway leader and set up thrilling finish

Bryson DeChambeau four shots clear

Tony Finau has got his game in top order
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 5pm Sunday

Story so far
Bryson DeChambeau took charge of The Northern Trust with a brilliant third-round 63, signing off with back-to-back birdies to reach 16 under par, almost certainly securing a Ryder Cup debut in the process.

DeChambeau has been widely touted as a likely Ryder Cup wild-card pick for the American side. He plays the same make of ball (Bridgestone) as Tiger Woods and the duo could be set to combine in foursomes action at Paris National next month.

Firstly, though, DeChambeau has a Northern Trust glory on his mind. The 24-year-old, a two-time US Tour champion, is four shots clear of the field at Ridgewood Country Club and a stand-out 4-6 with Betfred for victory.

DeChambeau, who missed the cut in the US PGA Championship last time out, was a pre-tournament 80-1 chance. The ante-post favourites and FedEx Cup leaders are trailing. Brooks Koepka is tied for seventh spot at nine under, a shot ahead of Justin Thomas, who is a further shot ahead of Dustin Johnson.

-16 Bryson DeChambeau
-12 Keegan Bradley
-11 Cameron Smith, Tony Finau
-10 Billy Horschel, Adam Scott
-9 Jordan Spieth, Beau Hossler, Chez Reavie, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson, Adam Hadwin, Brooks Koepka
-8 Aaron Wise, Nick Watney, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jamie Lovemark

Best prices
4-6 B DeChambeau, 12 K Bradley, T Finau, 20 B Koepka, C Smith, 25 A Scott, 28 J Spieth, 33 B Horschel, 50 J Thomas, 55 J Day, 66 bar

Final-day advice
Bryson DeChambeau has edged over the line in his two US Tour victories – a one-shot success in the John Deere Classic and a playoff triumph in the Memorial – and he may be made to work hard for a third title.

A four-shot buffer is obviously significant with only 18 holes to go, but there are a host of top-class players lurking just off the pace and it seems unlikely that the pacesetter will be allowed to cruise to the trophy.

Pace of play will probably be an issue in the final twoball, too, and there must be every chance that DeChambeau and Keegan Bradley – who can be called methodical at best, snail-like at worst – bring each other down in a slow, pressure-packed, intense final twoball.

DeChambeau and Bradley both freewheeled to fantastic third rounds to spring up the leaderboard, but both have fiery temperaments and can quickly have steam coming out of their ears if things are going wrong.

Ridgewood Country Club – tight, tree-lined, with heavy rough and drying – demands excellent golf and will severely punish mistakes. DeChambeau and Bradley are far from certain to maintain their positions.

Confidence appears to be returning to Jordan Spieth, who may be getting back to his old self with the putter, and the three-time Major champ could make a charge from seven shots behind. And Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Justin Thomas will not have given up on the title yet either.

The best value option going into Sunday, though, is arguably Tony Finau, who has looked good with the putter this week and surged into third spot with a bogey-free third-round 66. Finau has slowly got to grips with Ridgewood, improving his score each day, and he has pledged to attack in the final round in an attempt to overcome a five-shot deficit.

Finau has had some odd putting stances and grips in his US Tour career, trying to find a way of turning his typically brilliant ball-striking into greater success, but he has settled on a more conventional technique in New Jersey and looks more secure.

If DeChambeau and, to a lesser extent, Bradley wobble in front, Finau seems the man most likely to take advantage, and the giant Utah man is a surprisingly juicy price.

Emiliano Grillo, well suited to Ridgewood, can outclass Seamus Power at a generous 10-11 in the 2.20pm twoball. The final match of DeChambeau and Bradley is due out at 7pm UK and Ireland time.

Outright recommendation
T Finau
3pts each-way 12-1 Betway, Coral, Ladbrokes

Twoballs recommendation
E Grillo
3pts 10-11 general

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It seems unlikely that the pacesetter will be allowed to cruise to the trophy
E.W. Terms
Sky bet