It is ‘Moving Day’ at The Players Championship on Saturday and the chasing pack are going to have to make serious moves if they are to reel in runaway leader Webb Simpson over the course of the third round.
Simpson bombed clear with a scintillating second round on Friday but if he does falter there are some massive names jostling for position in behind him. On a course which is firming up all the time we are nicely set up for a super Saturday.
Round 2 Recap
Simpson at one stage was looking on for a 59 but the island hole caught him out and he had to settle for a 63 but that was enough for him to post 15 under and give him a five shot lead. Charl Schwartzel, Danny Lee and our outright pick Patrick Cantlay head the chasing pack on 10 under par with Chesson Hadley, Alex Noren and Charles Howell III a shot further back.
Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott are all within reach of the pack should Simpson come back to the field so plenty are ready to make moves on Saturday. Three men who will need to make big moves in the third round are Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith. They all begin on one under.
It was another profitable day for us betting wise on Friday with two of our three ball bets safely landing. Chesson Hadley got the day off to a good start and then Alex Noren converted for us too. Unfortunately Si Woo Kim couldn’t make it a perfect three from three but we’re nicely ahead at halfway.
Third Round Leader
There is a market priced up for the third round leader and as you would expect Webb Simpson is all the rage. He is actually odds on, understandably, but with all the dangers and the pitfalls around here I wouldn’t want my cash on anyone at odds on even with such a lead although I fully appreciate that he should comfortably convert his advantage into the 54 hole lead. It feels like a market that is best left alone unless someone posts something low early that we can chance it holding up.
Saturday 2 Balls
The field are out in two balls on Saturday with each of the groups priced up. The focus will be more on the groups towards the end of the day where Simpson partners Charl Schwartzel in the last pairing out at 19.40 BST. Patrick Cantlay and Danny Lee go out 10 minutes before them. There are some great pairings throughout the day not least the second one onto the course as Jordan Spieth partners Justin Thomas. Jason Day goes out with Alex Noren and Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott pair up. I’m going with two bets on Saturday which come from a couple of other pairs.
Zach Johnson vs Brooks Koepka
Match tees off at 16.20 BST
One of the earlier groups out onto the golf course sees a couple of major champions doing battle as Zach Johnson partners the current US Open title holder Brooks Koepka. The latter is coming back from injury but both men sit on four under going into the third round.
Koepka might be on four under but he has played so much better than that. He was eight under going to the island hole on Friday but that caught him out and he registered a quadruple bogey but it shows he is scoring much better than Johnson.
Johnson has holed nothing over the first couple of rounds and on a day like Saturday I think players are going to need to putt well. Johnson certainly will have to because he doesn’t have the length to get into position to overpower the shorter holes. Koepka does and I fancy he’ll outscore Johnson here.
Chesson Hadley vs Charles Howell III
Match tees off at 19.20 BST
The third last group out onto the golf course is the American pairing of Chesson Hadley and Charles Howell III, both of whom begin the second half of the tournament locked together on nine under par.
Both men will be looking to make moves on Saturday but I’ve got to be with Hadley. If he could play 18 holes this week he would be up where Simpson is but he keeps falling away late on. Despite that I still think he’ll see off a Charles Howell who has a horrible record here and who can never be trusted with the flat stick. Hadley’s all-round game is better than Howell III’s and his Saturday score can be too.
WON – Back B.Koepka to beat Z.Johnson for a 4/10 stake at 2.05 with Boylesports
Back him here:
Back C.Hadley to beat C.Howell III for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Skybet