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Final-round preview and best bets for the Charles Schwab Challenge

Golf betting tips: Charles Schwab Challenge Final Round

2pts treble Scheffler, Horschel and Tway to win their two-balls at 13/2 (Betfair, Paddy Power)

Davis Riley has a PGA Tour victory to his name after winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Nick Hardy last year. But trying to achieve his first solo success with World No.1 SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER alongside him in the final group on Sunday will be a very different matter.

The good news for the 27-year-old Riley is that he’s built himself a four-shot lead, a 66 in Saturday’s third round adding to opening laps of 66-64 to take him to 14-under. Scheffler at 10-under is the only other player in double digits under par.

But if he can beat Scheffler, the three fellow Americans that round out the top five shouldn’t strike fear into him. Pierceson Coody and Hayden Buckley share third place on 9-under, five shots adrift, while it’s another stroke back to Robby Shelton in fifth. Coody (three), Buckley (one) and Shelton (four) share eight Korn Ferry titles between them but none have won on the PGA Tour.

That plays a slight part in the betting but basically the odds suggest a fairly straightforward script: can the unlikely leader hold off the game’s current top dog? The market suggests it’s nearly a coin toss with Riley a best of 11/10 and Scheffler available at no better than 5/4.

Riley backers know that their man has got to this position without smoke and mirrors. He ranks 1st for Strokes Gained: Approach, 1st Tee To Green and 4th for Putting. That’s a wild contrast to his season-long rankings in those categories: 159th Approach, 172nd Tee To Green and 100th Putting.

One other big plus for Riley is that he’s done good things before in Texas. He won the Korn Ferry’s TPC San Antonio Championship there in 2020, was fourth here at Colonial in 2022 and added a recent top 15 in the Houston Open.

If you’re on Riley at fancy prices of 200/1 pre-tournament, very well done. But I wouldn’t be taking him now at around even money with Scheffler breathing down his neck and perhaps someone else from the pack throwing in a low one on Sunday. Riley’s driving looked a little wonky in round three and that could be exaggerated under the gun on pay day.

Scheffler has a great chance to delight his home Texas crowds after stringing together rounds of 65 (Friday) and 63 (Saturday) to surge to second place. He ranked 3rd for SG: Putting in his 7-under lap of Colonial on Moving Day and that’s probably more important than trying to deduce what’s going on in his head with footage of his arrest all over social media. Perhaps the best thing is to just presume he hasn’t read any of it and therefore give far more precedence to his numbers.

I’m a tad reluctant to take him at such a short price so perhaps the best idea is just to back Scheffler to outscore Riley in a round four two-ball. It’s long odds-on at 2/7 but worth a place in an acca. It’s no surprise to see Scheffler 1st for R4 Scoring Average this season although, intriguingly, Riley is 5th. Note that he’s acquired that over only five measured rounds.

As for head-to-head form, quite handily the only time they’ve been paired together in strokeplay on the PGA Tour was in this tournament last year. Scheffler shot a pair of pre-cut 67s to Riley’s 71 and 72. Scheffler also won their WGC Match Play meeting in Austin last year (1up) while in Saturday’s press conference Riley also makes mention of Scheffler getting the better of him in the finals of a Junior Am. Overall, it’s been one-way traffic and Scheffler can win this final two-ball which starts at 6.50pm UK time.

BILLY HORSCHEL is ranked 3rd for R4 Scoring this season and can get the better of his match-up with CT Pan, who is one of the poorer Sunday performers at 162nd. Horschel is in great spirits after a win at the Corales Puntacana followed by a top 10 at the US PGA last time out. He closed with rounds of 63 and 64 respectively in those two events while another final-round 64 secured a seventh in the Houston Open.

The duo have only been paired once in the current decade but Horschel came out on top in both laps when they were sent out together in the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Horschel, who fired a 67 to Pan’s 68 in round three yesterday, looks a solid bet at 3/4. They tee off at 4.35pm.

For some value and to give this treble a serious boost, I’ll take KEVIN TWAY at 11/4 to outgun Collin Morikawa in the third-last two-ball of the day. Morikawa was as flat as a pancake on day four of the US PGA, plodding home in even par having starting the day in a tie for the lead. He ended up losing by six.

Having been in the thick of contention at Valhalla, I wonder if it all may catch up with him a little here. Even if you don’t buy into that, there’s the stark reality that Morikawa is a lowly 158th in R4 scoring this season. Amazingly, his average closing lap has been almost five shots higher than Scheffler’s.

Tway has a fifth and two other top 20s on his Colonial CV while last time out in Texas he wrapped his week with a 67 to finish ninth in the CJ Cup Byron Nelson. Four of Tway’s last five Sunday rounds have been in the 60s. Remarkably, Morikawa hasn’t broken 70 in a closing lap in any of his last seven attempts.

The 11/4 for Tway to beat Morikawa is real value and the treble of Scheffler, Horschel and Tway pays just over 13/2 with Betfair.

Posted at 0932 BST on 26/05/24