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Sobel’s Sony Open Round 3 Odds & Matchup Pick: Will Vintage Zach Johnson Show Up?

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Johnson.

One day after Collin Morikawa raced out to a three-stroke lead, the Sony Open leaderboard is much more muddled entering the weekend, as there are 11 players within one shot of the lead, 16 within two and 23 within three.

It’s just another reminder of how quickly things can change at the top of a tournament — and we shouldn’t be surprised if the picture is even less clear going into Sunday.

Speaking of reminders, as if we needed an early-season recollection of how there’s more than one way to climb a board, 36-hole co-leaders Brendan Steele and Cameron Davis are proving it to us.

So far this week, Steele is gaining just 0.67 strokes from tee to green, but 3.44 putting; meanwhile, Davis is gaining 4.76 strokes tee to green, but actually losing 0.65 on the greens.


Odds as of Saturday morning. Check out FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


If you’re seeking a winner, well, I’m still not shying away from my pre-tourney pick of Morikawa (currently +600), who remains just one stroke off the lead despite playing what he called “average” golf.

I also bet Rory Sabbatini (80-1) before the opening round and, as the Golf Channel broadcast team pointed out near the end of the Round 2 telecast, he’s been playing some very good golf for a very long time now. His playing partner for Saturday, Brian Harman (50-1), is worth a watch, too.

In my R2 preview, I wrote about both Webb Simpson (12-1) and Sungjae Im (25-1), each of whom climbed the board Friday. Nobody should be shocked if they remain on an upward trend throughout the weekend.

And if we’re looking just a bit further back, Kevin Kisner (40-1) — another guy I bet pre-tourney — is just four shots back after a pair of 1-under rounds to start, while ranking 11th in the field in strokes gained on approach shots, which remains a strong barometer for those who can keep it going.

Round 3 Matchup

Zach Johnson (+100) over Alex Noren

At one point in the not-too-distant past, Noren was ranked top-10 in the world, though the type of player who didn’t travel to the U.S. much unless he was competing in a major or WGC.

Four years ago, Noren won four times on the European Tour, but times have changed and he’s now not only playing his craft on the PGA Tour, he’s playing events that he likely never even considered back then.

Of course, back in the not-too-distant past, Johnson became a major champion on two of the most iconic courses in the world. His game has languished as he’s entered his 40s, becoming the type of player who’s now considered for international team assistant captaincies rather than playing roles, but Waialae is a personal favorite and his ball-striking has looked tremendous so far. I like him to take this matchup on Saturday.

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