MASTERS SPECIALITY BETS
FIRST ROUND LEADER
IAN POULTER - 50-1 - ½ pt e/w - 1/5 odds 1st 8. - No Return
Those who follow my selections will be fully aware that Mr Poulter is far from my favourite golfer on the planet at the moment after he snatched a 150-1 winner from our clutches last Sunday with his 20ft birdie putt on the 18th green in Houston.
He could however go someway to getting back in my good books with a fast start this Thursday and I think he is more than capable of delivering this.
Poults has only missed the cut on one occasion at Augusta and on his last visit to there in 2016 he opened with a 69, which would have been enough for a share of the place money based on eight spots.
Poulter has a history as recently as last year of performing well at an event he was not expected to be in.
This came after his infamous reprieve courtesy of Mr & Mrs Gay secured him his playing privileges on the PGA Tour.
Following this Ian produced a fantastic performance in The Players Championship at Sawgrass and I can see him in a similar fashion riding the crest of the wave down Magnolia Lane to a great start this week.
JIMMY WALKER - 70-1 – ½ pt e/w – 1/5 odds 1st 8. No Return
If you’ve already read my main preview for the event today you will know that I have picked Walker as my ‘trader’ option this week as I can see him continuing to build on his really solid Augusta record.
As documented in my main preview Walker is recovering from Lyme Disease and is now all but back to full health and fitness.
Over the years Jimmy has proven to be a quick starter at events that suit his game and as recently as at Bay Hill three weeks ago he held the first round lead before fading away.
If Walker is to perform well this week as I think he will, this will surely come on the back of a quick start rather than grinding his way up the leader board and I am keen on his chances to deliver this.
72 HOLE MATCH BET
M KUCHAR To Beat HENRIK STENSON 5pts win 4/5 Betfair Sportsbook. Lost
When looking for a match bet at Augusta my eyes tend to wander in the direction of Henrik Stenson to see who is put up against him and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Betfair Sportsbook offering him in a match against the ultra-consistent Smiley Matt.
I gave serious consideration to including Kuch in my main team this week and after he showed at Birkdale last summer that he does have what it takes to produce in a major I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if he landed a Green Jacket.
Ultimately though I suspect he will find one player at least too good for him on the week.
For match bet purposes though of course all we need is for that one player not to be the Swede Stenson and with Henrik’s mediocre Augusta record you would be surprised if it was.
Whilst Henrik seems to have plateaued to a steady level at Augusta over the recent years he has never found the course to his liking and he has never finished better than 14th here, and he once again missed the cut last year.
Over the past 8yrs Stenson has beaten Matt once, tied with him once and on the other 6 occasions Kuch has gotten the better of him, and with both players now running in to reasonable form over recent weeks I am happy to take the chance that course form/suitability will mean Matt will once again prevail in this match.
TO MAKE THE CUT
P CANTLAY 2/5, B DECHAMBEAU 2/5, R HENLEY 4/9 TO ALL MAKE THE CUT Lost
4pt Treble – William Hills
Whilst I am not normally one for doubles, trebles etc for my final bet of the week I am going to roll the dice with a three player treble on all players to make the cut.
Week in week out on the PGA Tour you find 140 odd good quality players teeing it up with only 70+ ties making the cut line.
In the Masters though it is a different ball game and this week we have a field of 87 players, with 50+ ties and all players within ten shots of the lead after round 2 making the cut.
If this is not enough to stack the odds in our favour you only then need to cast your eye over the field to be reminded that, in addition to the smattering of amateurs, there are some players in the line up who, great as they once were, are now only here for a stroll down memory lane. [Woosie, Lyle, O’Meara etc], and it is this that makes the ‘to make the cut’ bet an attractive one to look at in this event.
The players I have chosen to go with in this treble are all players I think will perform reasonably well this week, in particular Henley who is in our main team.
In relation to Cantlay it is well documented that he has not missed a cut since his return to the PGA tour last year and whilst he is a relative Augusta novice he did enough to make the cut here as an amateur in 2012 and with his solid all round game I would expect him to do so again comfortably this year.
As for the third member of the trio Dechambeau, he again made the cut here as an amateur finishing 21st and with the exception of a WD the week before Bay Hill he has been in very solid form of late on the PGA Tour.
All in all I would be surprised to see any of these three struggling on Friday to make the weekend and a treble on them all to make the cut pays around the 7/4 mark.