Monday, 4 April 2016

The Masters 2016 - My Shortlist (part 5)

It's Masters Week ! The 80th Masters will be underway this Thursday where rain is forecasted for the day, but for this day only. Augusta National is a long course and may just prove to be too long for some on Thursday, thus ending their chances early if the forecasted rain does fall. As per my previous previews for compiling this final shortlist, the Masters history has to be considered when  considering who the eventual winner will be, and history has shown that those who do win will have been up with the pace from day one. It's what we would expect in a Major, and this year being as competitive as it, should be just the same.

From my list of twenty still standing (Jim Herman's unexpected win at Houston means I have an additional member to consider, but will all respect to Jim, he won't be in my final shakeup), I am now looking a potential winner and those that can challenge and secure a TOP10 finish. As alluded to previously, I've already backed Adam Scott @ 33/1 and am very happy to have him on-board given his recent form and obvious Masters form. But is there anyone else I fancy from the market leaders?

Let's start with the defending champion who will play his third Masters this week. Jordan Spieth finished second on debut two years ago before romping to victory last year on the back of decent form preceding the tournament. It's a different Jordan Spieth entering this week, but his front-9 last night in Houston was encouraging and he could easily click here. Defending champions are far and few between here ; Nicklaus, Faldo & Woods the only ones to do so and I don't see Spieth joining this list here this week. He's far too short to emulate that feat anyhow. Jason Day will rightly go off the favourite having won six times in his last thirteen starts! He's in form but again he's far too short too. Day really should have won here in 2013 but for very late bogeys when the pressure came on. He was also runner up to Schwartzel in 2011. He opened with a 67 twelve months ago before slipping back to the field to finish T 28th, but it's fair to say if he opens with a 67 this Thursday he'll be a hard man to beat. He is most people's pick for this week for sure, but at ~9/1 and given the strength of the field I can't back him here. Bubba likewise, in brilliant form of late and won at Riviera this year as he did when winning in 2014 before winning at Augusta the same year. Bubba will chase a third green jacket this week and will have many backers but he is always suspect when the pressure comes on and he may have more than one breathing down his neck if in contention. Rory McIlroy looks destined to win at Augusta at some point and he will go very close this week. He hasn't been at the top of his game recently but it's not far away. Thursday scores could be pivotal for Rory and if he's near the top of the leaderboard this could be the year. The putter has to perform all four days, he's avoiding the traditional par-3 contest on Wednesday and will be prepped and ready to go come Thursday. I have doubted whether Rory arrives at tournaments fully prepared on tour but this is different. Rickie Fowler has to be a contender and at ~20/1 could offer some value. But he's not for me here, no other reason than I think the pressure to win a Major (still to win one) could be huge and he'll have proven Major winners to fend off to do so this week; too many in solid form. Phil Mickelson will go in search of fourth jacket at the age of 45! His Augusta form is simply phenomenal and has shown decent form so far in 2016 and cannot be dismissed lightly but I'd like more than the price being offered here.

Regular readers of this blog will know I've backed Dustin Johnson a few times in the Majors and he really should have a few in his locker by now. The question is now of course, is he destined to go Major-less in his career ? He's only 31 years of age though and has time. He showed in Houston that his game is in good nick but he needs to grab a tournament by the scruff and close it out. He created history here last year on the par-5s by recording three eagles in his Friday round. Par-5 scoring is crucial here and having read Steve Rawlings Betfair preview this morning where he emphasizes the same by showcasing the par-5 performances of the last ten winners here (their accumulative scoring are Par-3 -2; par-4 -9 and par-5 -90), I'm inclined to believe those that score well on them this year again will be in the mix if they cut out the double bogeys, which Dustin invariably adds to his scorecard too often. I said after The Open last July, that his third round effort could have a lasting negative affect on DJ in the Majors, but I'm not sure that it will now if being honest. I am expecting a bold bid this week,and think there is some value in the 22/1 on offer.

Its the 33/1 on offer for Justin Rose though that I can't refuse. Second alongside Mickelson last year, Rose has a further two TOP 10s and a further two TOP15s not to mention three other TOP25s. Tee to green Rose is very consistent and if the putter gets going he'll have a huge chance this week. In his last four starts in strokeplay, Rose has finished no worse than 17th (Doral) and was 6th at Pebble Beach, 16th at Riviera and 9th at Bay Hill. He's simmering and in the last ten appearances here, Rose has led after rounds one, two and three at some point and indeed back in 2007 , led after the 16th in the final round before taking a six at the 71st hole. The 2013 US Open Champion has been practicing with Adam Scott and is real live contender for the 80th Masters.

At this point, I'm taking the following players off my shortlist !

1. Jason Day
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Bubba Watson
4. Rickie Fowler
5. Phil Mickelson
6. Jim Herman

Omitted on price but if you don't have a Betfair account and do fancy the big three, open an account this week and availing of a decent price.You'll also get €30 and 6 places

Back Spieth @ 25/1 here

Back Day @ 25/1 here

Back McIlroy @ 25/1 here

From the remaining fourteen players I can finalize Adam Scott and Justin Rose leaving a dozen on the shortlist which includes former winner and current Open Champion, Zach Johnson, former winner Charl Schwartzel and former Open Champion and previous runner-up at the Masters Louis Oosthuizen. Of the three I'd prefer the chances of Schwartzel. There are eight players remaining which haven't been mentioned, all of who are maidens at the Majors. These are the players that I will look to for the TOP10 markets. Rory and Dustin remain in the shortlist and I'll leave my final shortlist at thirteen and it is available here.

For those that prefer their each way bets, be advised that Skybet are offering 8 places on the Masters (1/4 odds) and you can avail of that offer here also - open a Skybet account and avail of 8 places !

Paddypower are offering 7 places and a new account can also be opened here

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