Steve Palmer’s Players Championship final-round preview and free golf betting tips

Steve Palmer’s Players Championship final-round preview and free golf betting tips

Where to watch

Live Sky Sports Golf, 2pm Sunday

Best bets

Tommy Fleetwood ‘without Scottie Scheffler’
1.5pts each-way 15-2 Betfair, Power

Tom Kim lowest final round
1pt each-way 33-1 Betfair, Power

Justin Thomas lowest final round
1pt each-way 22-1 Betfair, Power

Justin Suh to win 4.10pm twoball
1pt 11-10 bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes

Tommy Fleetwood to win Players Championship
0.5pt each-way 28-1 bet365

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Story so far

The Players Championship started with the world’s top three superstars teeing up alongside each other in the marquee threeball at TPC Sawgrass – Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler – and the trio have had a hugely contrasting week.

Rahm withdrew after round one, suffering with illness, McIlroy carded a five-over-par 36-hole total to miss the cut by three shots, but Scheffler has fired rounds of 68, 69 and 65 to assume a two-shot lead going into the final round.

Scheffler will almost certainly regain world-number-one status after the Players. He needs a three-way tie for fifth place or better to leapfrog Rahm at the top of the rankings. The Sawgrass leader obviously expects much better than that and is just 2-5 to convert his lead into a first Players title.

Min Woo Lee, showcasing his immense talent on his Players debut, is alone in second place. Another Australian, Cam Davis, is a further two shots back in third spot, with Tommy Fleetwood among those tied for fourth. Tom Hoge set a new course record with a Saturday 62. Collin Morikawa endured a difficult third round, dropping to a share of 14th place. 

-14 Scottie Scheffler
-12 Min Woo Lee
-10 Cam Davis
-9 Tommy Fleetwood, Aaron Rai, Chad Ramey, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
-8 Sungjae Im, David Lingmerth, Tom Hoge

Best prices
2-5 S Scheffler, 6 M W Lee, 25 C Davis, 28 T Fleetwood, 50 A Rai, C Bezuidenhout, S Im, 80 T Hoge, 100 C Ramey, 125 bar

Final-round preview

Scottie Scheffler is scheduled to tee off at 5.45pm UK and Ireland time in the final twoball of the Players Championship and will doubtless be walking with a swagger.

The more outspoken and cocksure Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, with their dreamy swings and assertion they are the best, have been hogging the spotlight for a while. The more unassuming Scheffler, who typically loses balance in his feet every time he hits a shot, is threatening to leave his rivals in the shade again.

Despite winning the Phoenix Open last month, Scheffler could be backed at 10-1 for the Players Championship, a tournament where he had failed to sparkle in previous visits. A missed cut by a shot in 2021 followed by 55th from the wrong side of a significant draw bias last year was not that bad, though, and Scheffler has shown that Sawgrass suits him this week.

Scheffler, bidding to become the first player since Tiger Woods to hold both the Players and Masters titles at the same time, tops the PGA Tour greens-in-regulation statistics this season. It is difficult to argue against bookmakers who have chalked the leader up long odds-on for Sawgrass glory.

The only crumb of comfort for Scheffler’s pursuers is how challenging for everyone the final round is set to be, with moderate breezes set to whip across the course throughout the leaders’ round. With so much water on the course, especially on the notoriously daunting 17th and 18th holes, Scheffler backers will not be able to count their winnings until he is safely aboard the 18th green.

Min Woo Lee loves playing golf in the wind – the Perth man quickly developed all the shots required to excel in tough conditions – so the forecast holds no fears for him. Lee has always been bursting with potential and winning the Players on debut would rocket his career to incredible heights.

Lee suffered an allergic reaction to some medication on Monday, his face swelling and his eyes half-shut, then he got calf cramps late in round one and closed with back-to-back bogeys. Despite those early travails, this sweet-swinger has found Sawgrass a doddle so far. A final twoball with Scheffler, with $4.5m up for grabs, is the greatest test of Lee’s career.

The most appealing option with 18 holes to play is Tommy Fleetwood in the ‘without Scheffler’ market. Fleetwood has flown under the radar all week, slowly but surely improving, carding rounds of 72, 70 and 65 to move into a share of fourth place.

The Southport man is ultra-comfortable in a breeze and has vastly more experience of Sunday combat in top-class events than the two Aussies ahead of him. Fleetwood, a two-time Ryder Cupper who has finished runner-up in both the US Open and the Open, may provide Scheffler with the biggest challenge. Fleetwood was seventh at Sawgrass in 2018 and fifth in 2019.

Victory in the Nedbank Challenge in November got Fleetwood back to winning ways and the former world number nine will enjoy the mission of hunting Scheffler from five shots behind. If Lee and Cam Davis find the occasion too much, which they have every right to do, then Fleetwood may set the clubhouse lead as Scheffler negotiates the final hole.

Scheffler, Fleetwood, Lee may be the first, second and third, but the 28-1 about Fleetwood outright is sufficiently large to merit a small investment, too, just in case Scheffler has any aqua nightmares. Chad Ramey showed in round two how quickly shots can be frittered at Sawgrass, carding a seven at the par-three 17th, and those final holes should play super-tough on Sunday.

The 15-2 Fleetwood without Scheffler is made even more inviting by the each-way terms of Betfair and Paddy Power – a quarter the odds, the first three. That is more than fair with Fleetwood currently tied third in the market.

With the wind set to increase as the day wears on, the best round of the day seems likely to come early in calmer, softer conditions. The mouthwatering twoball of Justin Thomas and Tom Kim (8.11am local time; 12.11pm UK) may provide some fireworks.

Thomas had a front-row seat for Tom Hoge’s 62 in round three. That score is probably out of reach on Sunday, but if Thomas finds some putting form, the 2021 Sawgrass champion has got a low round in him. Kim is well suited to the Sawgrass assignment and may finish his debut with a flourish. The two Presidents Cup foes should be focused to the line.

Justin Suh, who won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in Florida last year and has seriously impressed with his ball-striking in recent weeks, should be favourite for the 4.10pm twoball against Taylor Moore. Odds-against seems generous.

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