Sung Kang remains in pole position following the third day of the Houston Open, remaining three strokes ahead of the rest of the field.
The South Korean tied the course record yesterday to take command of the competition and displayed no signs of relaxing his stranglehold on Saturday.
Rickie Fowler made a surge down the back nine to put the 29-year-old under pressure, only for the American to cave under duress on the final two holes to leave a comfortable distance between the pair heading into the final round of the tournament.
Russell Henley will also be battling on Sunday for the crown after maintaining his fine form from the opening two rounds of the competition, including netting a crucial birdie on the 18th to bring him within four strokes of Kang at the top of the leaderboard.
We’ll now break down the third round and see the best odds for the final day of the Houston Open.
Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Kang would have been feeling the weight of expectations going into his third round following his record-tying performance on Friday. However, he did not allow the pressure to get to him on the first hole at least, notching a birdie to take him to 17-under for the competition.
The 29-year-old backed that up with a birdie on the fourth, but uncharacteristic mistakes on the fifth and seventh knocked him back to even par for the day.
Kang remained steady to attempt to find his rhythm at the turn, and kicked backed into gear with a birdie at the 11th as Fowler began to make his charge ahead of him. However, the South Korean notched his fourth birdie of the day on the par-five 15th, only to slip-up on the 16th with a bogey.
He faced a real test of character from 6ft on the 18th green to hold on to his three-stroke lead, but he holed his effort allowing himself breathing room on the final day.
The South Korean has never won a PGA Tour event, but backing him at 6/52.20+1201.201.20-0.83 with BetVictor could be a nice earner, although nerves could play a vital factor on Sunday.
After a mediocre performance on his second round, Fowler came out of the blocks firing in his bid to win the tournament. The American played some outstanding golf to bridge the gap, beginning his charge with a birdie on the third and notching another on the fifth.
He could not have played the front nine much better than he did on Saturday, striking three birdie putts down the hole on the bounce before the turn to take him to five-under on the day. This included a dream approach shot on the par-three ninth from the tee.
Fowler remained steady on the early holes in the back nine before exploding back into life with three birdies on the spin once again to take him level with Kang on 17-under for the tournament. However, the American failed to close out the day, ruining his round with two disastrous holes.
On the 17th he carded a bogey with a missed par putt before four putting his way off the course on the 18th, missing twice from inside 5ft. Fowler has decent odds of 13/82.63+1631.631.63-0.61 with BetFred to pull off the win, although he will have to be flawless on Sunday.
Henley remains in with a solid chance of securing his first win on the tour since 2014 following a solid performance on day three. The 27-year-old closed the deficit on Kang from six strokes to four, but a huge challenge remains ahead of him in his pursuit of glory.
The American began the day with a birdie on his first hole of the day and remained consistent on the following three holes remaining at one-under before notching a birdie on the fifth. Henley’s front nine was looking solid until an error on the par-three ninth knocked him back a stroke at the turn.
A birdie on the 15th set up him for a strong charge towards the 18th, but another error on the following quelled his momentum. However, Henley ended the day on a high note with back-to-back birdies, including a putt from distance on the final green.
At odds of 11/26.50+5505.505.50-0.18 with Bet365 Henley is a decent price to claim the win, although the 27-year-old will need to be on form from the off.
List produced the round of the day to propel himself into contention, with a seven-under display of 65, although he remains five shots off Kang’s pace at the top of the leaderboard.
The American began the day on five-under for the tournament and he dropped a shot at the second before he managed to get back on track. His front nine was sublime after his recovery as he produced a number of fine strokes, especially on the green to charge through the field.
He notched his first birdie of the round on the fourth and after paring the fifth – List began a run of five birdies on the bounce. The accuracy of his iron play allowed him to close in on the pins before being deadly on the greens before and after the turn.
List could have challenged the course record tied by Kang, but his momentum slowed after the 10th, although he notch birdies on the 13th and the 16th to take him to 12-under for the tournament. At odds of 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07 with Coral he could spring a surprise on the final day.
Berger remains on the fringes of contention, although he was unable to kick on in his third round of the competition following a five-under display on Friday.
The American is nine shots off the pace of Kang and will need to produce a special round to mount a challenge or hope that the leaders take a significant step back on Sunday.
The 23-year-old has one win on the PGA Tour achieved last season and also a top-10 finish at The Masters last year, meaning that he should not be overawed by the experience of the chase.
However, he will need to put aside the inconsistent form he displayed on Saturday as endured a setback at first by bogeying the fourth, but responded with birdies at the fifth and eighth.
Berger fell back to even par with his second bogey of the day, only to clam himself back on track by firing in back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. However, the American ended his day on a sour note by bogeying the 18th.
At 150/1151.00+15000150.00150.00-0.01 with Betfair, the 23-year-old represents great value, but he will need to have the round of his career to pull off the win.
Sung Kang To Win Houston Open
Rickie Fowler To Win Houston Open
Russell Henley To Win Houston Open
Luke List To Win Houston Open
Daniel Berger To Win Houston Open
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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