Garcia in right three-ball to lead Masters after opening round
Fresh from hitting balls from up in trees at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Sergio Garcia heads to Augusta in the hope of finally ending his long wait for a first major victory.
Garcia has three times finished second at a major and is 40/1 to finally go one better at the Masters, but the better bet appears to be the 50/1 that he tops the leaderboard after the opening day.
The Spaniard has rested since injuring a left shoulder in his tree-climbing expedition and looks set to benefit from an optimum opening tee time at Augusta.
Garcia is in one of the biggest-named three-balls alongside 2009 Masters winner Angel Cabrera and Australia’s Adam Scott and this trio only have five groups that will begin their major quest after them.
This is significant as twice in the last three years, a first-round Masters leader has been in the group that Garcia will play from – Lee Westwood last year and Fred Couples in 2010.
Further good news for Garcia is that he has shot under-par in the opening round in two of his four PGA Tour starts this year and also in his first Masters round in 2011.
Meanwhile, Cabrera has not been under-par in an opening Augusta round since his victorious year in 2009 and Scott has been a slow starter on the PGA Tour this year as he is yet to break 70 in an opening round.
Justin Rose has led the Masters field three times in the opening round since 2004 and this may make him a popular selection to be doing so again at 16/1.
However, no player from the opening nine tee times has led the Masters field in the first round since at least 2006.
This is also bad news for Lee Westwood at 33/1 in his quest to lead for the second year in succession. Although he is partnered by Jim Furyk, who is the only player since 2007 to have been in a three-ball to contain a first-round Masters leader more than once.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.