2021 Olympics Men’s Golf Round 3 Best Bets: How to Back Mito Pereira & Cameron Smith in Tokyo
Chris Trotman/Getty Images. Pictured: Mito Pereira.
The weather once again played a big factor on the day at Kasumigaseki Country Club, as a lengthy delay caused the second round to spill into tomorrow with 16 players still on the course. Still, it was another exciting day of golf with more low scoring available, but also trouble lurking for errant shots. This track has proven to be a true risk, reward course, creating what will be an exciting weekend of golf as the players battle for gold.
Xander Schauffele was the star of the day on Thursday, matching Sepp Straka’s opening round 63 with an 8-under day of his own in the second round. Schauffele has taken the solo lead at 11-under on the week, with only Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz joining him in double digits under par, and one shot back.
Hideki Matusyama is the one player that could join them in that category. The Masters champion has moved to 8-under on the week and still has two holes to finish out his round. The Japanese star is currently in a tie for third alongside the aforementioned Straka, who had an even par second round. They are also joined by Chilean Mito Pereira and Swede Alex Noren at three shots behind Xander’s lead.
The leaderboard gets really crowded from there as nineteen players are 5-under or better through 36 holes. There is still a large number of players that can win gold, and certainly the battle for medals will be hard fought throughout the rest of the tournament.
Let’s take a look at who stands out heading into the weekend at the Tokyo Olympics.
Mito Pereira +2000 to Win Gold (DraftKings)
There were questions coming into the week about how the players that teed it up last week in Minnesota for the 3M Open would adjust to the long travel and quick turnaround to tournament golf in Japan this week. Mito Pereira has answered the bell with seemingly little issue through two rounds as he followed a solid 2-under opening round with a strong 6-under 65 on Thursday.
The Chilean was second in strokes gained tee to green in his second round as he gained nearly five shots on the field. He now ranks fourth in the category on the week, and is gaining strokes in every metric through the first 36 holes. Pereira came into this week off of back to back top-six finishes on the PGA TOUR and earned his spot on the big tour through a special exemption off of his three Korn Ferry Tour victories within one year. He has proven to have the mindset and ability to win under pressure.
These intangible factors and his current form combine well to make him a play at a strong +2000 value to win gold on DraftKings.
Cameron Smith +1400 to Win a Medal (DraftKings)
One of the best rounds of the day was coming together for Cameron Smith until he stumbled home with a double bogey on his final hole. The Australian was 6-under on his round coming into the 18th, when he dunked his second shot in the lake and ended up dropping two shots.
Smith has still put together two solid rounds this week, and that is clear in some of the statistics for the week as he leads the field in approach proximity. This has led to him ranking second in the field with his irons, gaining 4.7 strokes on approach. He confirmed following the round about how good his game feels this week, but that he still isn’t getting the most out of it just yet.
If he can keep this form throughout the rest of the weekend, and make a move in the third round, he will be in position to battle for a medal in the final round.
Sebastian Munoz +600 Top 5 (BetMGM)
Here I am again, chasing the hot and cold streaks of Sebastian Munoz. I don’t think I’ve made it a full week without mentioning the Colombian when he was in the field. Anyway, it’s hard to ignore what he’s done through the first two rounds at the Tokyo Olympics.
Munoz ranks second in the field at nearly six strokes gained tee to green on the week. He has gained more than 2.3 strokes on approach in each of the first two rounds, showing consistency with his ball striking to keep him in contention throughout the weekend. The biggest issue for Munoz on Thursday was a simply awful putter that lost more than two strokes on the greens. He is typically solid with the flat stick and if he can bounce back in that category this weekend, while maintaining his strong play tee to green, he can find himself with a shot to contend in the final round.