Mahan the form man heading into Masters with new mental strength
Hunter Mahan insists that he has never felt better heading to Augusta and 20/1 may still represent big value that he can win a maiden major by triumphing at the Masters.
Although Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have strong previous records at Augusta which make them leading fancies for victory, it is Mahan that arrives at the opening major of the year as the highest-placed American in the world rankings.
Mahan climbed to fourth following his victory in the Shell Houston Open and this success means that he is the only player to have won twice on the PGA Tour thus far in 2012.
Furthermore, it is hard to knock his current form as he has finished inside the top 25 of six of his last seven tournaments and a continuation of this form is likely to ensure that he is still in contention heading into the final day at Augusta.
Even when he has not been as mentally strong in recent years, Mahan’s record at the Masters is not to be taken lightly, as two top-ten finishes in the past three years suggests he has the game to tame the course.
It is in terms of putting where Mahan could hold the edge over his main challengers, as he has gone over 100 holes since last needing to three-putt.
Therefore, hitting greens in regulation could be the major factor as to whether he challenges.
Picking a major winner has not been easy in recent years, with 13 different players winning the last 13 offerings and seven in a row being celebrated by a maiden winner.
Mahan looks as likely as anyone to extend this sequence, although patriotic punters would prefer that either Lee Westwood or Luke Donald scooped a first major victory.
Donald is 14/1 in the Masters odds and Westwood 16/1.