Bubba Watson’s played very nicely heading into Augusta, a place that he obviously loves. He was 7th in The CJ Cup and 4th last time out at the Zozo Championship, so two really strong performances.
He played beautifully from tee to green in both events, gaining almost 15 strokes on the field in off the tee and approach in both of those events. These are two key stats you need to perform well around Augusta. He’s shown his quality in the past, being a two-time Masters champion in 2012 and 2014.
His recent form here is also very, very good. He was 5th in 2018 and 12th last year where he was in the hunt before a poor finish with three holes to play. So, I can upgrade that 12th placed finish somewhat.
I think he’ll really welcome the rain in the forecast and that’ll give further weight to his power off the tee. With that back catalogue of success at Augusta, the recent form and power being to his advantage, I think he’s the best each way bet of the week for me.
I don’t think Matthew Wolff being a debutante is going to be as big an issue as it would have been in April. November, it’s a new kind of Masters scenario for everybody conditions wise.
No one’s really sure about the course characteristics just yet. In terms of the greens, we don’t know how soft they’re going to be. So, I think Wolff shouldn’t be as disadvantaged as you normally would be.
I think he has a game ready for any major setup. He’s shown this already with the fourth at the PGA Championship in August followed by the 2nd at the US Open in September.
There’s an interesting correlation that I’ve found which seems to be happening between Bryson DeChambeau and Wolff, they seem to play well on the same sort of golf course in the same sort of setup. With DeChambeau being a well-touted favourite this week it looks like there’s probably going to be a bit of value in Wolff with him being five times the price of DeChambeau, so I think he’s a really good each way bet too this week.
Cameron Champ is a power player making his debut at Augusta. He’s another one who is rounding really nicely into form. He was 8th at the Zozo Championship which I thought was a very impressive performance.
He led the field in driving distance, his approach play was really, really good. He’s been waiting for chance to get to Augusta for the last couple years and with his effortless power, he should be able to do real damage to the par fives.
Looking through the stats all season long, he’s only second to the DeChambeau in carry distance on the PGA Tour. With the course playing soft, there is not going to be too much run and carry on the ball off the tee which is going to be really, really important.
As I mentioned with Watson, the forecast rain is only going to help that power game. He’s an outsider that I think can go really go close to victory.
Cameron Smith is another player coming into form. He was 11th at the CJ Cup, followed by a 4th at the Zozo Championship where his tee to green game was excellent. He’s had three goes here at Augusta and his best finish was 5th in 2018.
Looking at the forecast, conditions are going to be really tough compared to a normal Masters and this should really suit Smith. Looking through his PGA Tour performances, his win in January at the Sony Open came in really, really tough conditions, a lot of rain, little bit of wind. I think he can go well the price.
Scottie Scheffler is another debutant and he put a 65 up at the Houston Open. That will put him in good confidence going into his first Masters. I think he’s got enough power off the tee to be able to cope with the softer conditions.
He was 4th in the PGA Championship in August, so his major career started pretty well. This is obviously a massive step up again, but I think he’s an ever-improving player and is another one that can go well at a big price.
So, I’m going to look for two guys at big prices and the first one is Cameron Smith. I mentioned in the outright preview how I think he’s coming into form very nicely.
He tends to have good starts the PGA Tour where he’s led a couple times in the last year. I think he’ll be a nice little bet at a big price.
Second up is Scottie Scheffler. He finished with a 65 Sunday at the Houston Open. I think he can take that into the first round. Obviously, he’ll be high on confidence and I think he can go quite low in the first round on Thursday, hopefully giving us a run for our money.
The first one I’m siding with to make the cut is Bubba Watson. As I mentioned in the outright preview, he’s got Augusta form. He’s only missed one cut in 11 appearances here so I think he’s a real solid option to start with.
The next three are debutantes. Matthew Wolff is the first one. I think it’s going to be very hard for him not to play well this week, given the onus is going to be on power, he’s a really good putter.
He’s mentioned in press conference this week that the greens he played in college are kind of similar to Augusta in terms of slope and speed. I think he’s going to be really comfortable.
Again, Cameron Champ is a power player. These power players are going to be really hard to not see play over the weekend.
Last up is Scottie Scheffler. He’s a man in form and should go well.
Iain’s tips for the 2020 Masters
First Round Leader
To Make The Cut (4 fold)
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