The Maters kicked off yesterday which means I’ll be firmly glued to the TV for the next three days and I urge you all to do the same following last year’s memorable tournament. Let’s just hope for an equally as exciting major this time around.
After a dramatic victory, Bubba Watson, the 2012 champion currently sits at 250-1 with some bookies, falling from an already generous 35-1 yesterday after his worst round in five Masters. However, I think feel Bubba has the character to bounce back, his courageous gameplay last year epitomised the diversity of the competition and pinpointed why naming a winner is so difficult.
With so many players looking to seize the crown from Bubba’s reign, I’ve outlined two lists, both concentrating on player form both approaching the tournament and form during the first round.
The first list highlights players who’ve gone under the radar. These won’t quite make the final cut, but are worth looking out for. And the second concentrates on potential winners.
Ones to watch
Leishman is currently joint leading at six-under. He’s set a good standard for the following three rounds having birdied five over the back nine. But I just can’t see him keeping this up this emphatic pace.
The big hitting American is just behind Leishman and is looking in great shape. He’s many peoples favourite, but just like Leishman I can’t see him keeping form throughout the tournament.
I don’t see him winning, but after leading the Open at half way last year and finishing tied third in the Masters back in 2008 he’s one to look out for. He almost lost it yesterday but somehow salvaged a two-under from a first round he’d like to forget. Although he didn’t make the cut in previous year he has vouched he’s back to “100%”. Those optimists amongst you might fancy a punt.
Bo van Pelt
He’s the ultimate underdog and with that comes little pressure. He’s in form and shot a ridiculous 64 in the final round of the 2012 Masters. I don’t see him battling it out with the likes of Tiger, but well worth a watch.
This 14-year old kid finished one-over on one of the World’s toughest golf courses, unbelievable. He’s a bright prospect for the future and his birdie on the 18th was a fitting tribute to his performance yesterday. One for the future.
Had a bit of a rollercoaster game yesterday with a few nervy mistakes. However, he’s just come into form and although it might be a little late, he’s got the quality to climb the leaderboard. A massive day for him today, he needs to address those mistakes, and fast.
I read an interesting statistic yesterday that five of the last 10 winners have been left-handed. There’s three this year; Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Apart from McIlroy and Garcia I don’t really see another right-hander beating Woods. In a toss up between Woods, Watson, Mickelson, Garcia and McIlroy, I’d choose Woods. He has plenty to do still after a steady start yesterday.
He’s always in with a shout and even more so this year. Hit a bogey-free round yesterday to finish joint leader with Leishman and looks to be hitting the ball better than ever. He’ll be up there come Sunday.
Lee’s still chasing his first major and will need to improve on last year’s putting performance, after it cost him dearly. He’s currently sitting at two-under even after bogeying the first. If Lee can fight the pressure he’s in with a chance.
Justin came into the tournament in outstanding form, and for that reason I’m tipping him to finish near the top.
Had an awful first day finishing four over. But his heroics during the Ryder Cup are an indication of his determined character, let’s hope it’s big enough to pull him out of this pit. I expect him to pull things around in the second round.
You can never rule Mickelson out and for that reason I tip him as a potential winner. He played probably the most entertaining round yesterday with a blistering back nine. He eventually finished one-under.