Best two-ball bets for Saturday at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: It's Schauffele out in front

Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot at the 2020 Genesis Open.
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Ricky Dimon

Golf· 2 months ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It is moving day at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Xander Schauffele holds a one-stroke lead through two rounds. Outside of Japan’s own Hideki Matsuyama, the immediate chase pack consists of a lot of guys whom you don’t normally see near the top of the leaderboard at big tournaments. However, Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, and Paul Casey are in a group four shots back—certainly in contention with 36 holes remaining (Casey actually has one hole left in his second round, as play did not quite finish up on Friday because of inclement weather).

Will Schauffele extend his lead on day three, or will others make the move to bunch up the leaderboard? Here are our best two-ball bets for Saturday.

Xander Schauffele (-120) over Rory McIlroy

We have been on the Schauffele bandwagon the entire way and there is no reason to jump ship now—not when he is the outright leader at the halfway point. Schauffele was among our best pre-tournament bets, he pushed our three-ball bet on Thursday with a 3-under 68 (tied Christiaan Bezuidenhout), and he easily won our three-ball bet on Friday (shot an 8-under 63). With Jon Rahm sidelined because of a positive Covid-19 test, Schauffele and Collin Morikawa are quite simply the two best players in the field. Only Schauffele is playing like it so far, although Morikawa is not entirely out of contention at -3. As for McIlroy, he just isn’t quite on top of his game these days. The Northern Irishman is in good shape at -7, but eight of his last 10 weekend rounds prior to the Olympics were in the 70s. He will have to go lower than that to compete with Schauffele.

Paul Casey (-115) over Cameron Smith

Casey has never won a major despite being in contention on the weekend a million times. The Englishman is contending once again at a huge tournament (even though this isn’t a major, it surely feels like one for everyone involved). What’s the main reason why Casey has never lifted a trophy on one of golf’s biggest stages? It’s because he has come up short more than a few times on Sundays, when the pressure is at a zenith. Saturday’s have rarely been the problem for the 44-year-old. I expect Casey (-7) to seriously contend for at least 18 more holes. Smith (-4) won’t be easy to beat in the third round, but his form heading into this week was unspectacular. The Aussie’s four most recent results included two missed cuts, a T30, and a T33. Casey is the more reliable player right now…at least until we get to Sunday.

Patrick Reed (-115) over Joaquin Niemann

Reed has been hailed as “Captain American” for the U.S.A.’s Ryder Cup team. Now he is playing with the American flag on his shirt as an individual, and results could be equally productive. The former Masters champion has a lot of work to do, but -3 through two rounds is not bad for a guy who found out he was participating only a few days before getting on a last-minute flight to Tokyo as a replacement for Bryson DeChambeau (Covid-19). With two rounds under his belt, Reed should only improve from this point forward. Niemann (-3) still has one hole to play in his second round, which is not a make-or-break kind of thing but also doesn’t make for ideal third-round preparation.

The Pickswise golf handicappers are on hand with expert Golf Picks and Golf Predictions as well as tournament previews and analysis throughout the PGA Tour, including all of the majors and the Olympics.

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