Sky Sports Golf, 12pm Saturday
Kramer Hickok to win 5.45pm twoball
4pts evens general
Davis Riley top-five finish
2pts 7-4 BoyleSports
Adam Schenk is the shock pacesetter after two rounds of the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course in Florida – the pre-tournament 125-1 chance reaching seven under par going into the weekend.
Schenk, a 31-year-old PGA Tour maiden who has won once on the Korn Ferry Tour, followed a 66 with a 69 to look down on the rest. The leader can still be backed at 8-1, though, as the chasing pack features most of the ante-post market principals.
Matt Fitzpatrick missed the cut and Sam Burns is tied for 40th place, seven shots adrift, but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth have justified their prominent spots in the pre-tournament betting by putting themselves into contention.
Thomas is tied for 12th, four shots behind, while Spieth is tied for third, only two shots off the pace. Spieth is 5-1 favourite with 36 holes to play, while Thomas can be backed at 9-1. A breezy afternoon is forecast for Saturday, with a thunderstorm threat.
-7 Adam Schenk
-6 Kramer Hickok
-5 Cody Gribble, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth, Davis Riley
-4 Wyndham Clark, Matt Wallace, Taylor Moore, JT Poston, Stephan Jaeger
5 J Spieth, 7 T Fleetwood, 8 A Schenk, 9 J Thomas, 10 K Hickok, D Riley, 14 W Clark, 20 S Jaeger, 22 T Moore, 28 JT Poston, 40 bar
The PGA Tour are sticking to their planned Saturday schedule, even with some late thunder potential, so the final twoball of Adam Schenk and Kramer Hickok is not due to tee off until 5.45pm UK and Ireland time.
The fact a LIV Golf event is going on simultaneously may have had something to do with the decision not to fiddle with tee-times, but punters must factor the scope for weather delays into their weekend Valspar plans.Adam Schenk, who carries an unfortunate surname with similarities to the most damaging shot in golf, is difficult to fancy from here. The layers have probably not gone far enough with 8-1 quotes – the leader looks like a sitting duck atop a congested leaderboard.
Scoring has been so tight over the first two days that anyone who made the cut will still feel they have a winning chance. Those who scraped through at one over par are only eight shots behind an unconvincing frontrunner. A Saturday sizzler in calm morning conditions could put one of the backmarkers right in the thick of things for Sunday.
Kramer Hickok has been in decent nick and is by far the most appealing of the leading duo, but with Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood and Davis Riley only a shot behind, investing at 10-1 Hickok holds little appeal.
A watching brief may be the most sensible outright tactic at this stage. Players like Sam Burns, Justin Suh, Maverick McNealy and Justin Thomas seem likely chargers from off the pace, while Riley at 10-1 is the most attractive price among those already on the first page of the leaderboard. Last year’s Valspar playoff loser has found form and will fancy his chances of going one better this time.
Riley at 7-4 for a top-five finish – starting the weekend tied for third – is a more than fair bet.Hickok to beat Schenk is the most appealing twoball option. Hickok, a good friend of Spieth, showed plenty of courage in an epic Travelers Championship playoff defeat to Harris English in 2021. Expect Hickok to last longer on the leaderboard than his Saturday playing partner.
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