Six Big Priced Players Who Could Make Some Noise At Augusta!
With this years first major barely a week away here’s a brief blog focusing on 6 players who are currently in the 100-1+ price bracket but who could potentially make a bit of a splash at The Masters.
Whilst it is more than likely the winner will come from someone in the top dozen or so in the betting there is always a Smylie Kaufman or for the older generation a Len Mattiace [pronounced Mootees apparently] who pop up and make a splash.
Furthermore with some bookies paying up to 10 places e/w and with the trading options available on the betting exchanges, it can be quite possible to make a nice tidy profit on a bigger priced player who is never really in the hunt for the Green Jacket.
Whilst it is possible one or two of these may find their way in to my final team for the week please note these are not my picks [which will be published early in Masters week], just some musings on some players who could possibly surprise.
So then in no particular order other than alphabetical here we go.
1 – Kiridech Aphibarnrat – Current best Odds 125-1
I said when I put Kiridech up as a trader option at the WGC Mexico that the next step for him was to start making some noise at WGC level and he certainly did that both down in Mexico and in the subsequent WGC Matchplay event.
He has the sort of game which should flourish at Augusta, an aggressive attacking style, with a strong putter who seems to play well on the big stage.
On his only previous start at Augusta back in 2016 he finished 15th and he is a far more accomplished player on the world stage now 2yrs down the line.
With the form he has been in of late it is not a stretch to see him being near the higher end of the leaderboard over the weekend and improving on his previous 15th placed finish.
2 – Adam Hadwin – Current Best Odds 150-1
None of us will forget that Danny Willett won the Masters after finishing 38th on debut the previous year and it is just possible that Canadian Adam Hadwin could do something similar after finishing 36th on debut last year.
Currently ranked 34th in the Fedex Cup Standings Hadwin is putting together another very solid year to follow up his successes of 2016-17 which saw him garner his first PGA Tour win.
His last three stroke play events have seen him notch finishes of 6th, 6th & 12th with only one over par round so he should come in with plenty of confidence and may well surprise.
3 – Russell Henley – Current Best Odds 150-1
Looking at Henley you would think his game would be a strong fit for Augusta and his ever improving results here may well bear that out.
Accurate from tee to green Henley this year currently sits 34th in ball striking and it has been the club, which traditionally been the strongest in his bag, his putter which has actually held him back this year so far.
In four visits to Augusta to date he has improved on his effort every year and last year he finished 11th.
Born and bred in Georgia Russell also attended the University of Georgia so he is a Georgia Bulldog through and through and with the home support if he can find his touch on the greens a big week may be in the offing.
One final thing to say on Henley is If you do fancy him to go well keep a close eye on his performance this week at Houston, as if he does perform well again at one of his favourite stops on tour his odds will most likely tumble.
No 4 – Zach Johnson – Current Best Odds – 125-1
Zach of course already has one green jacket to his name and next weeks biggest Nap is that when he does cross our TV screens Mark Roe or Paul McGinley will delight in telling us in case we didn’t know that he won the Masters laying up on every single Par 5.
Since acquiring his Green Jacket Zach has also added a Claret Jug to his trophy cabinet however he remains winless on the PGA tour since his Open win in 2015.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season though there have been signs that Zach is turning things around with no missed cuts and a bunch of top 20 finishes to his name.
I saw a reasonable amount of Zach play while I was at Bay Hill and it certainly appeared to be the putter that was holding him back and you would hope that return to the Augusta greens he must know as well as most people in the field would help solve that.
Since his memorable win here in 2007 his Augusta form has been pretty patchy to say the least but he did finish 9th as recently as 2015 so it appears he still has what it takes to be competitive here and if the putter does warm up it wouldn’t be surprising to see Zach in the hunt come Sunday.
No 5 – Ryan Moore – Current Best Odds 125-1
We now come to a player who’s chances for a big week I am really strong on.
I backed Ryan at the Valspar a few weeks back only for him to disappoint at one of his favoured tracks. Needless to say he then popped up with a top five finish at Bay Hill the following week!
After suffering from injury last year the UNLV grad took extended time out to get fit and healthy over the winter break and has also changed swing coach.
The driving force behind this process is that at 35 Moore realises he is at that cross roads period of his career where if he is going to deliver the results including a Major championship that his amateur career promised he has to up the level over the next five years and it would appear that he has the determination and belief he can do this.
His record at Augusta is strong going back to a 13th place finish as an amateur in 2005, with his best result coming with a 9th place finish last year and I have a strong feeling that he will improve on that again this year.
No 6 – Jimmy Walker – Current Best Odds 175-1
I am sure when the above Ryan Moore is looking at what he can achieve after the age of 35 there isn’t a much better role model for him to look at than Jimmy Walker.
Now 39 Walker has six PGA Tour wins to his name including a PGA Championship and most of these wins including the Major came around or after Jimmy turned 35.
Unfortunately as has been well documented Walker over the last year plus Walker has suffered from Lyme disease, a serious and debilitating illness which not unsurprisingly has meant he has been far from at his best on the golf course.
Fortunately though Walker who was diagnosed with the illness on the eve of the 2017 Masters seems to know be returning to full health and there have been signs his golf game is beginning to come around accordingly.
He had his first top ten finish in over a year at Pebble Beach and he held the first round lead just a couple of weeks ago at Bay Hill before fading away.
He now returns to Augusta where his form figures read 18, 29, 38, 8 so it’s obviously a venue which he is very comfortable at and I can see Jimmy performing well there again this year.