Former Open champ can conquer Augusta
Dave Tindall – Back Shane Lowry at 50.049/1
When it came to the Majors, Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo all dealt exclusively in Claret Jugs and Green Jackets. They won 13 between them but not a single US Open or US PGA.
So how about 2019 Open winner Shane Lowry continuing that European trend and winning his first US Masters?
The Irishman is in fine form, has the magical short game to thrive at Augusta and is learning what’s required after top 25s in the last two Masters.
Conners can contend again
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Corey Conners @ 75.074/1
Third in the WGC World Matchplay, Corey Conners strikes me as ready to contend very strongly for majors and his early record at Augusta offers a very positive signal for the Masters. It usually takes a handful of visits before players peak at Augusta. This will be the Canadian’s fifth attempt and he’s already made the top-ten in the past two renewals.
Anyone hitting quality iron shots as frequently as Conners is entitled to contend on the toughest courses – he ranks third among these for greens in regulation over the past year. Quality approach play is the one of the keys to success here, minimising the risk on the treacherous greens and usually ensuring birdies or better on the par-fives which are so critical to scoring.
That he isn’t one of the better putters in the field may not be such a negative, as even the best find these greens so challenging. Hitting 70% plus of greens in regulation here, as Corey usually does, should ensure a very competitive score.
Augusta specialist can give you a run for your money
Steve Rawlings: Back Paul Casey @ 80.079/1
Beware the injured golfer so the old adage goes and be especially wary of one trading at chunky odds at a venue that clearly suits I say.
England’s Paul Casey played only two holes of the WGC Dell Matchplay because of back spasms so a pound risked on Paul is one that may never see the light of day again but if he does manage to get his issues sorted, with eight top-20s (including four top-six finishes) at Augusta it may not be forlorn wager after all.
Casey was in fine fettle at the Players Championship a few weeks ago so he’ll be doing all he can to be fit and the market drift looks too severe.
World no.1 can scoop first Major
Mike Norman: Back Scottie Scheffler @ 20.019/1
Given that he’s now officially the world’s best player, he’s the hottest player on the planet form wise, and that he has some excellent Augusta pointers in his favour, then the only surprise to me is that Scottie Scheffler isn’t favourite to win this year’s US Masters.
The likeable 25-year-old is brimming with confidence following three wins in his last five outings, and he is undoubtedly now a much better player than when recording very respectable top 20 finishes on his first two visits to Augusta.
Key however, could be Scheffler’s new caddie Ted Scott, who was on the bag for both of Bubba Watson’s Masters victories and has already had a huge impact in turning Scheffler from a very good PGA Tour player to a multiple-winning world number one.
Matt a nice Fit for the Green Jacket
Joe Dyer: Back Matt Fitzpatrick @ 60.059/1
I am tempted in by Matt Fitzpatrick most years at Augusta, and most years I have lost my money! But at big odds of 70 on the Exchange I will give him another crack at it. Already a very capable operator, he looks a player approaching fresh levels of excellence – Matt Cooper points out his good form in his player profiles piece here – and while the win has been elusive on the PGA Tour he has lifted multiples titles on the DP World Tour.
His game is a nice fit for Augusta and he has a top 10 in the bank from 2016, making the cut every year since, and I am happy to have a nugget on the Sheffield man delivering at a big price.
Spieth can thrive if putter behaves
Andy Swales: Back Jordan Spieth @ 29.028/1
Punters should always consider the name Jordan Spieth when seeking to cash-in at the only major staged at the same venue every year. Even when the Texan is not in the greatest of form, he usually plays well at Augusta National where the focus is usually on putting.
In fact, the last time anyone managed to average below two putts per green (for Greens hit in Regulation) at this slippery venue was when Spieth accomplished this feat in 2015, as he romped to the Masters’ title by four shots. The 28-year-old generally saves his better performances for major championships anyway.