down cross

Wesley Bryan can build on positive start at Southwind

Best bets for the second round of the St Jude Classic

Wesley Bryan shot 66 in his first round at the St Jude Classic
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Day Two
Sky Sports Golf, 7.30pm Friday

Argentina's Fabian Gomez took top honours at the St Jude Classic in 2015 and while he would have been encouraged by his opening four-under-par 66 he may not be able to build on it when he goes out again at 6.40pm on Friday.

Gomez had his putter to thank for his position a shot behind the overnight leaders as his wayward driving and poor greens-in-regulation statistics were offset by him gaining almost five shots on the field on the greens.

It will be hard to maintain that sort of flatstick prowess and it is difficult to be confident about a player who has fallen 200 places in the world rankings this year.

His best finish of 2018 was 22nd at the Corales Puntacana in March but enthusiasm for that performance has to be tempered by the fact that the game's elite were battling against each other at the WGC Match Play that week.

Gomez was 32nd in the Byron Nelson last month in his most recent outing but that was the only occasion in his last 12 tournaments that he carded a sub-70 round in his Friday round, so it is taking a leap of faith that he will be able to stay in the hunt.

Australian Aaron Baddeley posted an even-par 70 on Thursday but he was another who struggled with his accuracy off the tee.

He has claimed just two top-20 finishes in 12 tournaments this year and missed his last three cuts.

Baddeley's record at Southwind is also poor - he has not finished better than 53rd at the venue in six attempts and has missed four cuts.

So preference in the threeball is for Wesley Bryan, despite the fact his form coming into the tournament has not been brilliant.

Bryan, who was far more accurate than his playing partners on Thursday, has missed six of his last nine cuts and not finished higher than 27th in any tournament this year, despite claiming the Heritage title in 2017.

But this could be the week that he emerges from his slump on the sort of tight track upon which he is capable of flourishing.

He finished alongside Gomez a shot behind the first-round leaders but it could have been a lot better had he not posted a double bogey on the 15th when finding the water.

Bryan recovered well to birdie the next hole and it is worth remembering that he was fourth after two rounds at the Memorial last week before fading.

That experience could well provide him with extra motivation to make sure he hangs around at the top of the leaderboard this week.

W Bryan to win threeball 6.40pm
2pts 11-8 general

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This could be the week that he emerges from his slump on the sort of tight track upon which he is capable of flourishing
E.W. Terms
Sky bet