Winter has disappeared, the azaleas are flowering and all seems right with the world. The US Masters is upon us – the first major of the golfing year.
And very rarely has a tournament been so looked forward to. Tiger is back, Lefty is winning again, Sergio defends, DJ’s back is mended, Jordan seems to have found his putting touch and JT is in the form of his life. And that’s without mentioning the likes of Rory, Justin, Casey and Poults.
Let’s start with the game’s biggest draw – Tiger Woods. His comeback from injury (not to mention his other off course problems) has been remarkable. He has finished twice inside the top five this year, prompting bookies to run scared of a fifth green jacket. We at Lap of the Odds are very respectful of his chances but feel his driving is still too sporadic on a long course to take odds of 12/1. We’ll pass.
Respect also must be handed out to Phil Mickelson. Lefty, as he is commonly known, has won three times around this track and is clearly in form having won in Mexico in early March, breaking a winless streak that started in 2013. However, he would be the oldest player to win this title, and we feel this is becoming a young man’s game.
Very few players defend majors so we’ll rule out Sergio Garcia, and Dustin Johnson is not in the form he was 12 months ago when he was a confident pick by this blog, before falling down some stairs!
Both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Speith could be special around here, but we think the odds are prohibitive on the pair as they both have chinks in their armour.
When all is said and done we have to return to golf’s form player – Justin Thomas.
Currently ranked no. 2 in the world (just!), Thomas won the last major to take place, the US PGA in Quail Hollow in August last year. He has subsequently won twice as well as finishing runner up in Mexico and fourth in the World Match Play. His record around Augusta isn’t great but is trending in the right direction. Our money will be on JT.
As far as an outsider is concerned, we going to take a punt on Russell Henley. Born in Georgia, Henley will have plenty of home support this week. An ace around the greens, his last three appearances here have resulted in finishing positions of 31, 21 and 11. Fans of mathematical progression will be licking their lips!
Thomas to win, 1 pt, at 12/1, Ladbrokes
Henley 0.5 pts each way at 110/1, 1/5 the odds for first eight places, Bet365
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