Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Par 72, 7,435 yards
What an exciting finale we had last night to the Houston Open! J.B Holmes shot a superb 64 in the final round and got himself into a playoff with Johnson Wagner and Jordan Spieth. Speith hit a poor second shot into the first playoff hole and finished with a bogey to take himself out of contention. J.B beat Wagner after he missed a six foot par putt to continue the playoff. 25/1 winner in the bag, happy days.
Augusta National is one of the most beautiful, eye catching golf courses on the planet and has seen so much emotion over the years. Augusta National first opened 82 years ago in 1933, and has been modified many times by different architects. It is a long demanding test with very tricky greens and lots of run off areas.
The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alistair MacKenzie. The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, held by the Augusta National Golf Club.
This course measures just under 7,500 yards and will demand a mixture of power and accuracy. There are a few elements to consider at Augusta when compiling a list of players to bet on. The first element is experience. Players that have played well here in the past tend to go well again, even more so if they are showing some good current form. The second element is a hot putter and a good short game. Augusta National’s teeth are its lightning fast greens with its tricky slopes and run off areas.
If a player misses the fairway at here, the key is to land the ball in the right part of the green with a high penetrated ball flight. If a player has a high penetrated ball flight with a draw, or a fade if you’re a lefty, that will be a big advantage. The main reason for this is that many of the holes in Augusta are dog legs so players that can shape the ball should score well.
Greens in regulation is another stat to consider here as the greens are big and slopey so hitting the ball in the right portion of the green will be very important. Approach stats, strokes gained putting, scrambling, par 4 and par 5 scoring are other stats to take into consideration here.
Bubba Watson 10/1
The defending champ comes back to Augusta National in great form and hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in his last six events. His good form began back in November, where he won the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai. His good form continued into December where he finished T11 at The Hero World Challenge on eight under for the tournament.
He started 2015 well with a solo 10th at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, T2 at The Phoenix Open and T14 at The Northern Trust Open. Most recently, he finished solo 3rd at The WGC Cadillac in Doral. Since then, he hasn’t played in any other events and should be well rested coming into Augusta. He has a great record at this event with two wins in the last three years and a T20 in 2008.
Statswise Bubba ranks third in driving distance, fourth in strokes gained tee to green, 12th in strokes gained putting and second in scrambling. He also ranks sixth in par 3 scoring, 23rd in par 4 scoring and first in par 5 scoring. Bubba is made for this course and has the current form to contend and win for the third time in four years.
Jordan Speith 10/1
He nearly did it again last Sunday and lost in a playoff to J.B. Holmes and Johnson Wagner to finish P2. There is no other player in better form at the moment than Jordan Spieth. Other than a missed cut at The Farmers in February, Spieth hasn’t finished worse than T17 in his last seven events. After winning the Australian Open in November, he then went on to win again at The Hero World Challenge in December and finish 2014 off in style.
He began 2015 with a T7 at The Phoenix Open, T7 at The AT&T in Pebble Beach, T4 at The Northern Trust Open, T17 at The WGC Cadillac, win at The Valspar, a solo 2nd in Texas and a P2 last week in Houston. Last year, Spieth came close to winning in Augusta, but feel off the lead on the back nine due to some late bogeys and finished T2 on five under for the tournament.
He also seems to fit the bill statswise ranking eighth in strokes gained tee to green, fifth in strokes gained putting and 39th in scrambling. He also ranks fifth in par 4 scoring, first in par 4 birdie or better leaders and second in approaches from 150-175, which is a good stat for approaches into some of the longer par 4’s. Spieth is even more experienced this time around and is in superb current form and knows how to win in a top class field.
Jason Day 14/1
Jason Day has been in great form so far this year and hasn’t finished worse than T17 in five of his last six tournaments. He had a great start to the year with a T3 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which included an impressive final round 62. He followed that with a respectable T17 at The Sony Open in Hawaii and won the following week at The Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines beating J.B. Holmes in a playoff. He then went on to have yet another good week at The AT&T in Pebble Beach finishing T4, which included a superb 62 in round 2.
Most recently, he finished T31 at The WGC Cadillac in Doral and had a good week at Bay Hill finishing T17 on nine under for the tournament. Day has come close to winning the Masters in the past finishing T20 last year, solo 3rd in 2013 and T2 in 2011.
He ranks ninth in driving distance, third in GIR, 19th in strokes gained tee to green and 12th in approaches from 125-150, which is good stat for approaches into the longer par 4’s. Day also ranks ninth in scrambling, eighth in par 3 scoring, first in par 4 scoring and 44th in par 5 scoring. With great current form and a good history at Augusta, this could be the year Jason Day wins his first major.
Henrik Stenson 18/1
With three top five’s in his last three tournaments, it’s hard to leave Henrik Stenson out of the selections this week. He played well in Doral at The WGC Cadillac finishing T4 on four under for the tournament. He followed that with a solo 4th at The Valspar and a solo 2nd at The Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill, which he should have won if it weren’t for a couple of missed putts.
Stenson has three top 20’s at Augusta since 2008. He played well here last year finishing T14 on +1 for the tournament. In 2013, he finished T18 and level par for the week. Stenson ranks 13th in driving accuracy, second in GIR, second in strokes gained tee to green and second in strokes gained putting.
He also ranks third in approaches from 125-150 and 27th in approaches from 225-250, which are two good stats for approaches into the longer par 4’s and par 5’s. Stenson also ranks fourth in scrambling, eighth in par 3 scoring and second in par 4 scoring. He decided to withdraw from Houston last week to get some practice in Augusta, which should stand to him. He has contended in majors before and is in much better form this time around than he has been in previous years.
Jimmy Walker 25/1
After recording his second victory of 2015 in his home town of San Antonio, Texas a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy Walker is another player showing some brilliant form this season. He played superb from start to finish and topped driving accuracy, GIR and strokes gained putting stats for the tournament. He started the new season with a T4 at The Shriners Open back in October and followed that with a solo 15th at The Hero World Challenge. He began 2015 at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions and finished P2 after losing a playoff to Patrick Reed.
He quickly bounced back and won the Sony Open in Hawaii the following week and followed that with a T7 at The Farmers in Torrey Pines. He played well at The AT&T in Pebble finishing in a respectable T21 and finished T31 at The WGC Cadillac. Walker is another player that seems to suit Augusta, finishing T8 here last year.
Statswise he ticks all the boxes ranking 17th in driving distance, 21st in GIR, 12th in strokes gained tee to green and third in strokes gained putting. He also ranks seventh in approaches from 125-150, 35th in par 3 scoring, 12th in par 4 scoring and fourth in par 5 scoring. With two wins already under his belt this year, Jimmy Walker looks to be in great form and could add another victory to his ever growing trophy cabinet in Augusta.
Matt Kuchar 33/1
Kuchar is one of the most consistent players in the world and has only finished outside the top 25 twice in his last 10 tournaments. He started the season with a T21 at The Frys, T22 at The McGladrey and a T8 at The Hero World Challenge. He followed that with a T17 at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a T3 at The Sony Open. He then had a T2 at The Humana, T23 at The WGC Cadillac and most recently, a T15 at The Texas Open.
Kuchar’s record in Augusta is superb with a T5 last year, T8 in 2013, T3 in 2012, T27 in 2011 and a T24 in 2010. He ranks 15th in strokes gained putting, fifth in scrambling, fifth in par 4 scoring and 19th in par 5 scoring. With steady form so far this season and a great record at Augusta over the last three years, Kuchar could be a big contender this week.
Final selections –
Bubba Watson 2pts EW 10/1
Jordan Speith 2 pts EW 10/1
Jason Day 2 pts EW 14/1
Henrik Stenson 1.5 pts EW 18/1
Jimmy Walker 1.5 pts EW 25/1
Matt Kuchar 33/1 1 pt EW 33/1
Total staked = 20 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
Follow me on Twitter @Doublebogey63
Like me on Facebook www.facebook.com/doublebogey6