Recovered from the Grand National and the FA Cup last weekend? Good! Because it’s full steam ahead to Augusta National and the 2019 US Masters, which tees off on Thursday.
Got your pick sorted for the four-day tournament won 12 months ago by Patrick Reed? Whether you do or you don’t, we’re on hand with three tips featuring the favourite, the form pick and an outsider.
The favourite – Rory McIlroy (6/1)
He’s already won the US Open, the PGA Championship and the Open Championship. Can McIlroy now add the famous green blazer to his prize haul and complete an historic Grand Slam?
His odds suggest he can. And his form at the Masters hints at a strong performance. The Northern Irishman has finished inside the top 10 in each of his last five appearances at Augusta.
It’s not just his course record which inspires confidence either. The 29-year-old is in tip-top form ahead of the tournament following six straight top-six finishes on the PGA Tour.
That includes shooting -16 to win the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass last month. If he turns up with similar form in Georgia, there’s no doubt he’ll be on the premises again.
The form pick – Dustin Johnson (10/1)
There’s not a great deal to choose between McIlroy and Johnson. Both have a solid record at Augusta without ever winning the tournament and both are in cracking form at present.
Johnson has made the top-10 in five of his eight PGA Tour appearances this season and recently finished three shots behind McIlroy at Sawgrass prior to his sixth in the Valspar Championship.
But it’s his win in the WGC-Mexico Championship which has us purring. The 34-year-old shot 21-under-par in Naucalpan to clinch his 20th PGA Tour title to set him up perfectly for this.
DJ has cut out some of the sillier mistakes in his game this term. If he can hold it together across the four days then he should be in contention once again.
The outsider – Xander Schauffele (40/1)
Jon Rahm (16/1), Bryson Dechambeau (25/1) and Tommy Fleetwood (30/1) all have claims as outside picks at Augusta. Yet it’s 40/1 shot Xander Schauffele who’s our tip at a big price.
He may have missed the cut at the Players Championship recently but the American has a steady enough record over the course of the season to suggest he should be involved late in the day.
The 25-year-old is also capable of huge rounds. He showed that when shooting an 11-under-par 62 to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tie the course record in the process.
Schauffele also has a decent record in the big events after finishing T5 and T6 in his first two appearances at the US Open and T2 at the 2018 Open Championship.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication