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US Masters 2017: The 66/1 debutant who the Paddy Power traders fear

He's been forgotten in the market but this Augusta virgin proved in the Ryder Cup that he's a man for the big occasion

Trader insight US Masters

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Try to stay calm, the biggest golf tournament on this planet is back with a vengeance with the US Masters. We’re talking green jackets, golf wives with perfectly coiffed blonde hair and Jordan Spieth losing his rag at any minor mistake he makes.

Yorkshireman Danny Willett returns to see if he can defend his crown after shocking us all by taking advantages of Spieth’s mistakes last year.

We’ve nipped down to the trading floor to get some insight for you ahead of Thursday. So sit back, relax and enjoy the stats.

US-Masters-generic

Dustin Johnson – 13/2

DJ is having a historic year that has vaulted him to the World Number 1 spot and comes to Augusta on the back of three wins in his last three tournaments. He’s in the form of his life and it’s easy to see why he is the favourite.

Break down his stats and he’s third in strokes gained, tee to green and 11th in strokes gained approach which is significant as Augusta is a second-shot golf course. His short game has also improved massively in the past 15 months and he boasts stats of eighth in strokes gained around the green & 31st in strokes gained putting.

His course form reflects a clear upward trend of 30-38-38-13-MC-6-4 but the niggling doubt in our minds and why we’re very competitive in price, is the fact that he now plays a fade shot (ball swings left to right) off the tee, that was brought into his game by Claude Harmon in May 2016.

Some of the lines he is going to have to take on holes like 10 & 13 – means he’ll have to be spot on, all week, off the tee.

Jordan Spieth – 7/1

Jordan is out for Redemption after his 2016 collapse! All the traders think that he has this in the bag and he’s posted Augusta form figures of 2-1-2 since his debut in 2014. It’s a somewhat simplistic approach, but the argument could be made that if he navigated the 12th  in 2014 & 2016, he’d be chasing his fourth Green Jacket in a row!! Just imagine what price this would be then.

The Texan is second in Par 5 scoring, second in strokes gained approach (behind Rory McIlroy), ninth in strokes gained tee to green and sixth in par 5 birdie or better percentage.

The general consensus from the trading team is that if he putts to the levels he has in previous years, he is going to incredibly hard to beat. One we are ducking considerably in the market.

Rory McIlroy – 15/2

The Mc Attack is showing no signs that the rib injury he sustained in January is affecting him. The stats show he is leading the Tour in almost every facet of his long game:

  • First in Driving Distance
  • First in Strokes Gained Tee to Green
  • Second in Par 4 Birdie or better percentage
  • First in Par 5 Scoring
  • First in Par Birdie or better percentage

His Augusta form figures read 20-MC-15-40-25-8-4-10 and is a player for the poor weather. The rain that hit the course on Monday and the forecast rain coming on Wednesday will only his enhance his chance.

The worrying stats, which also means we are very happy to take him on, relate to his short game. You need a solid short game to contend at Augusta.

McIlroy is 112th in strokes gained putting & 179th in strokes gained around the green.

You’d put a line through any other player in the market with those short-game figures. We’ve been laying him and I will continue to lay him until the off on Thursday lunchtime.

Jason Day – 20/1

The Aussie has had a poor 2017 since starting the year as the World No. 1. It’s understandable, considering the sad news in relation to his mother became public after his withdrawal from the Matchplay a couple of weeks ago. It’s impossible not to be affected by that.

He also has his own share of heartache around this course. He had the tournament at his mercy in 2013 but faded badly over the final four holes. Charl Schwartzel’s birdie frenzy in 2011 to pip him at the post must also have hit pretty damn hard and his form figures read 2-WD-3-20-28-10.

It’s worth noting his putting has also regressed quite badly this year where he sits 145th in strokes gained putting this year, compared to first in 2016. That’s a large negative in our eyes.

This makes his hard to back him with massive confidence. One we’re looking to lay.

Hideki Matsuyama 944

Shoot over to all the latest Masters betting on PaddyPower.com

Hideki Matsuyama 18/1 

The Japanese starlet has the weight of the Asian continent on his shoulders – but we think he can handle the expectations. He started the year like he was unbeatable, winning the Hero World Challenge and the Phoenix Open with relative ease. And the stats stand up too.

  • Ranked seventh in strokes gained tee to green
  • Sixteenth in strokes gained around the green. His putting is a concern but always is with him
  • Second in Par 5 scoring & second in Par 5 birdie or better percentage

His course form figures of 27-5-MC-5-7 shows he is starting to find his feet at Augusta. He’s one we are looking to keep onside!

Value plays:

Adam Hadwin – 70/1

This fast improving Canadian won the Valspar Championship at the beginning of March and makes his debut at Augusta, but the Traders feel he’ll be suited to the test as he’s a wonderful scrambler and putter. His stats read:

  • Second in bogey avoidance
  • Sits 33rd in strokes gained tee to green & strokes gained putting
  • Third in scrambling
  • First in one-putt percentage @ 44.71 per cent
  • Fourth in Par 3 scoring
  • 19th in Par 4 scoring
  • 48th in Par 5 scoring

He is set to have a couple of practice rounds with compatriot and former winner Mike Weir. This can only help. We are a couple of ticks under the market price with him.

Thomas Pieters – 66/1

At the risk of contradicting ourselves – he’s another Augusta virgin we’re keeping  onside. The Belgian bomber should fit the Augusta test perfectly.

He finished second in the Genesis Open in February where he caught our eye in a big way. Riviera is a course that correlates well with Augusta. Dual Masters champ Bubba Watson has won there twice.  So have Augusta winners Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson & Jordan Spieth. Wannabe Masters’ winners DJ and Hideki Matsuyama have played well there in the past also.

The Ryder Cup sensation is 24th in strokes gained putting this year – but the stat I love is his putting from 10 feet and in. There’ll be a lot of knee-tremblers around Augusta!

  • Ranked third in  putting from inside 10 feet
  • Ranked first in putting from inside five feet
  • Ranked first  in putting from inside three feet
  • Ranked 8th in Par 5 Scoring & seventh in Par 5 birdie or better percentage

He’s been forgotten in the market since a couple of lack-lustre efforts in the Arnold Palmer Invitational & the WGC Matchplay. But as he showed last autumn in the Ryder Cup – he’s a man for the big occasion.

First Round Leader

We’re Keeping Jordan onside with his round one scoring average of 67.0 and he lead after the first day in 2015 & 2016. He’s priced at 10/1. in this market which is a bigger price than for him to win it outright.

With Thursday set to be a cool & windy day, we are going to keep Soren Kjeldsen onside also at a tasty 66/1 to be first round leader.

What do you think?