There are a raft of ‘speciality’ markets for the US Masters this week and Paddy has priced up more than 25 different segments. I’ve trawled through them and have hopefully found us a few nuggets to supplement our main team.
Firstly, let’s take a look at one of the most popular specials markets at most golf tournaments.
Over the past five years the day one leader has come from the afternoon wave, three times. This year though with the forecast predicting winds to steadily increase throughout the day, you would expect the morning tee-offs to have an edge.
On this basis, with a heavy heart I am swerving late starter Dustin Johnson and instead roll the dice on bigger priced each-way selections who in theory have ideal morning tee times.
The first is Augusta native Charles Howell III (66/1) who, courtesy of his win last autumn at the RSM Classic, returns to his hometown course for the first time since finishing 19th in 2012.
A model of consistency since that win, Howell III currently ranks 15th on tour in first round scoring averages. I am sure he will be chomping at the bit to get out there and with a great 9.47am tee time I can see him getting off to a flyer.
Similarly, Georgia resident Keith Mitchell (80/1) has been riding the crest of a wave since his win at the Honda Classic in February. While this is his Masters debut, his aggressive game should be perfect for Augusta. I’m happy to take a chance that he can continue his recent momentum and take advantage of his 8.41am tee time.
Sunday at the Valero Texas Open saw Matt Kuchar post his fifth, top five finish, of the season. With two wins and a runner up already to his name, he is in the middle of a ‘career year’. It is hard to see Kuch not being thereabouts come Sunday. Rather than backing him in the outright market, where my hunch is he’ll come up short (against a Rahm or a Rory), I prefer the idea of siding with him in a market he could win.
With a field of only 87 players the ‘cut line’ is the top 50 players and ties after two days. There’s also ‘10-shot rule’ whereby any player within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, gets to play at the weekend.
Two players who have been on the right side of the cut more often than not, are veterans Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.
Both have been in great form on the Champions Tour of late and both comfortably made the cut here last year. With both offered at 5/6 to make the weekend’s action.
On the flip side, the last two Masters Champions to defend their title, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett, have missed the cut the following year.
I can see a similar fate for Patrick Reed.
Reed has been struggling recently, so much so that he has turned to renowned coach David Leadbeatter for help. Coaching changes take time to implement and I can see his struggles continuing this week. Take the 13/5 with Paddy Power for the defending champ to be packing his bags on Friday evening.
Verdict: Patrick Reed to miss the cut @ 13/5.
Jimmy Walker is not the force he was a few season ago, there has been an upturn of late and he’s made the cut on his last four starts, including at Texas when he was 30th at the weekend.
Walker has been a model of consistency at Augusta finishing inside the top 40 for five years running. I see that continuing this year.
*Prices correct at time of publishing