The 2020 Masters Preview

The Masters, Augusta National, Georgia. 

We head to Augusta in autumnal November this year where the beautiful scenery of Magnolia Lane will be looking somewhat different than usual years, but of course, this isn’t a usual year. Augusta is the only course to have a major championship played there every year, and even with the different conditions, course form will once again be a huge positive. 

DUSTIN JOHNSON finds himself going into the tournament as the second favourite behind big hitting Bryson DeChambeau. DJ heads into the event as the most in form player, and comes into the event off a T2 finish at the Houston Open last week. His best chance of a green jacket probably should have been in 2017, when he came into the event in great form and as world number 1, however he had a freak accident, falling down the stairs in his rental home and had to withdraw from the tournament. 

He came into the tournament last year as one of the favourites along with Rory and Justin Rose, DJ finished in T2 along with fellow Americans Brooks Koepka and Xander Schaufelle, behind the most popular winner ever, in Tiger Woods. 

Distance off the tee is going to be a big factor this year with the course playing over 7500 yards, and with conditions set to be much softer than usual with heavy rain forecast for the early part of the week. DJ ranks 3rd on tour for driving distance and 2nd in shots gained tee to green which has to be a huge plus. 

XANDER SCHAUFELLE heads into this years tournament “under the radar” as he often finds himself. Xander is a major champion in waiting, and in my eyes, when he wins one, he will win multiple major titles. He is one of the best iron players on tour, and he’s not short either, two skill sets that are ideal for the undulations of Augusta. Xander finished in a tie for 2nd last year with the above mentioned DJ and Brooks. An opening round of 73 last year gave Xander a huge task, yet he nearly pulled it off, with a superb 65 bouncing straight back on the Friday. 

Xander has also been runner up at the open and a T3 finish at the US open and has 7 top 10 finishes in 13 major starts, which is an incredible stat. He’s shown himself to be a big time player, it can only be a matter of time before he lands a big one. If he can get the putter rolling this week he should rack up a huge amount of chances with his incredible iron play. 

TONY FINAU, Mr Top 10, Mr Reliable, whatever you want to call him, Finau is a model of consistency. He found himself in a tie for 5th last year, with the highlight being a lights out round of 64 (one shy of the course record) on “moving day”, however followed up with a final day 72, again ending his hopes of a big win. Finau is a bit like one of those handicap horses you know will always run his race, but will no doubt come up short when it really matters, but with the ridiculous 10/11 enhanced EW terms, looks a great bet to finish in the places. He has finished in the top 10 in his last 7 major starts, and 2 of them coming at Augusta, which is a huge plus with course form being such a factor round here. 

A lot of eyes I’m sure will be on Rory Mcilroy, attempting to complete the career slam, hopefully at the end of his career he won’t have to look back on that final round in 2011 when he started the day with a 4 shot lead, and finished up outside the top 10 with a final round +7. Jon Rahm will tick a lot of boxes with punters and certainly looks a future world no.1, having also won the BMW and Memorial since the restart and a most recent T2 at the ZoZo. One that does take my fancy further down the list is MATT FITZPATRICK, although he’s not blessed with distance, he is incredible accurate and in recent weeks has been putting extremely well, which is a key attribute around Augusta National. He also has a top 10 masters finish in 2016. 

Staking Plan

Dustin Johnson 3 Points Each Way 8/1 11 Places Skybet

Xander Schaufelle 1.5 Points Each Way 14/1 10 Places Betfair

Tony Finau 1 Point Each Way 25/1 11 Places Skybet

Matt Fitzpatrick 0.5 point Each Way 55/1 10 Places Betfair 

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