Par 72, 7,435 yards
Welcome to my Masters Betting Preview 2018! Augusta National is one of the most beautiful, eye catching golf courses on the planet and has seen so much emotion over the years. The first edition of the Masters held in 1934 and has seen many modifications since, with the most recent changes being made by Tom Fazio in 2002. Fazio mostly added length to the course and tightened up the fairways making it a long demanding test with very tricky greens and lots of run off areas.
The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones with Jones designing 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, the first is experience. Players with plenty of experience here tend to go well, 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 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.
There are a few key stats to pay attention to here. GIR will be important but the ability to negotiate these lightning fast greens will be key so strokes gained putting is one in particular along with scrambling, par 4 and par 5 scoring.
The Englishman has been in great shape this year with a win and three top 10’s in his last six starts. Rose played solidly throughout the week at the WGC HSBC Champions in China at the end of November shooting three rounds of 68 or better to win by two strokes from Henrik Stenson.
He then travelled to Torrey Pines where he finished T8 at the Farmers Insurance Open and followed that with a T9 at the Valspar, which included three rounds of 70 or better. Rose then had yet another top 10 finish at Bay Hill where he shot rounds of 69,71,67,67 on his way to an impressive solo third.
He sounded very positive when he was interviewed last week for Europeantour.com “I’m not worried about the other players or the other variables. I’m coming in playing as good as I’ve ever played, so I’m excited about that.”
His record here is quite impressive with five top 10’s in ten appearances with form figures 2,10,2 the last three years. Statistically Rose ticks a lot of boxes here ranking 49th in GIR, eighth in scrambling, 13th in SGP and sixth in par 4 scoring. After coming agonizingly close to victory last year, Rose will be keen to try and put that right this year and should be right in the thick of things come Sunday.
The two-time Masters champion returns to Augusta National in great form after a T24 in Houston after an impressive final round 67. Lefty has been playing some great golf this year with a win and four top 10’s in his last ten starts.
He started the season off with an impressive T3 at the Safeway Open followed by a respectable T15 at the WGC HSBC Champions. His more recent form figures read 5,2,6,1,17 and started with a great week in Phoenix posting a T5 and followed that with a T2 in Pebble and an impressive T6 in Riviera at the Genesis Open.
The Five-time major winner then traveled to Mexico and defeated Justin Thomas in a play-off after an exciting final round 66 at the WGC-Mexico Championship to claim his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship.
His from in Augusta National is very impressive with 10 cuts made from 12 appearances including two wins and a four top 5’s. Statswise he ranks second in SGP, fourth in SG Approaches to the green and fourth in scrambling, three stats that will stand him well here. Mickelson clearly loves Augusta and with his great current form and natural right to left shape, he could be a huge contender here.
Casey arrives to Augusta in great form and will be feeling particularly confident after winning at Copperhead a few weeks ago at the Valspar. His form figures read 7,19,11,8,49,12,1,17 in his last eight starts.
He started the season with a T7 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia which included a second round 63 and a final round 65. Casey then tee’d it up at the CJ Cup finishing T19 and followed that with a T11 at the WGC HSBC Champions, T8 in Pebble and a T12 at the WGC Mexico Championship where he shot three rounds of 68 or better.
Casey then went to Copperhead where he shot a final round 69 to post 10 under in total, one clear of Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. His form at Augusta is excellent with four top 10’s in nine appearances, three of which have been the last three years in a row (6,4,6).
Statswise he seems to fit the bill here ranking 17th in GIR, second in SGTTG, 11th in SG around the green and seventh in scrambling. With great current form and a recent win under his belt, Casey could be another player right in the mix come Sunday.
Ive had the Swede in mind for Augusta for the last few weeks and with his excellent form and natural fade, Augusta could be a good fit for him.
He started 2018 off with an impressive T2 at Torrey Pines after losing a five-hole playoff to Jason Day on the Monday after running out of daylight on Sunday evening. Noren then finished T21 in Phoenix and followed that with a respectable T16 in Riviera and a solo third at the Honda, which included three rounds of 67 or better.
More recently, he has kept up his decent run of form with a T14 at the WGC Mexico and a solo third at the WGC Dell Matchplay after beating the in form Justin Thomas 5&3 which will do wonders for his confidence coming into this week.
Noren ticks a lot of boxes here ranking 48th in GIR, 16th in SGTTG, 17th in strokes gained putting, 26th in par 4 scoring and third in par 5 scoring. After a missed cut on his only appearance here last year, Noren arrives in much better form this time around.
The in form Thai looks great value here this week given his current run of form. He has been playing some good golf so far this year and began 2018 with a respectable T22 in Abu Dhabi followed by a T27 in Malaysia at the start of February.
It was mid February where he started to show some real class when he travelled to Australia and won the Super 6 where he won four matches convincingly including the final against James Nitties 2&1.
Aphibranrat has shown he can compete in top quality fields finishing T5 at the WGC Mexico Championship after shooting an impressive final round 65. He then followed that with another T5 at the WGC Matchplay where he got to the quarter finals but was knocked out by the eventual winner Bubba Watson.
Now number 30 in the world rankings, this will be Aphibarnrat’s second appearance in Augusta. His first appearance here was in 2016 where he finished in a very respectable T15 after a final round 70. He is playing some good golf lately and looks great value for an each way shout.
Final selections –
Justin Rose 1pt EW
Phil Mickelson 1pt EW
Paul Casey 1pt EW
Alex Noren 1pt EW
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 0.5pts EW
Total staked = 9 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf.
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