Choi to enjoy the early clubhouse lead at the Masters

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KJ Choi may not be among the favourites to win the Masters, but 50/1 looks a massive price that he is in the lead after the opening round at Augusta.

Choi had an in-and-out Masters record in his first seven attempts, but has taken a liking to Augusta in the past two years, finishing in a tie for fourth and then a share of eighth 12 months ago.

What was noticeable on both of these occasions was that he got off to a flying start.

Choi shot five-under to sit in a share of second after the opening 18 holes in 2010 and then followed up with the same score last year in the first round to lie tied third behind early leaders Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros.

Something similar this year will almost certainly see him in contention again and five-under would have been enough to lead the Masters in both 2007 and 2008 after the first round.

Also in Choi’s favour is that he has made the cut in all of his six PGA Tour starts this season and potentially has a good tee time.

In the last four years, a leader after the opening round of the Masters has teed off in one of the last nine groups and Choi only has two groups behind him this year.

Meanwhile, the fact that he is with Sergio Garcia, who has made the cut in the last three years at Augusta, and David Toms, who has not missed a cut at Augusta since 2006, should ensure that Choi’s scoring remains steady.

A player from the last threeball has led the opening round leaderboard in two of the past four years and this may bode well for Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan or Peter Hanson.

Mickelson is 14/1 to hold the early lead this year, with Mahan 33/1 and Hanson 125/1.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.