Ryan Moore (4/5) vs. Jose Maria Olazabal and Webb Simpson
One’s hardly played golf at all in the last couple of years and the other – aside from one week in Phoenix – looks like he’s struggling to play anymore.
Is that a little harsh on Jose Maria Olazabal and Webb Simpson? Although hardly at the top of his game, the first round prospects are surely good for Ryan Moore.
Simpson won a US Open – remember? I can hardly recall – and also has a couple of top 30s to his name at Augusta.
But Moore’s profile seems to fit this course better and he can go low here. He shot rounds of 66 and 69 on his way to a 12th place finish in 2015 and has two further top 20s to his credit.
The solid option
Paul Casey (evens) vs. Kevin Na and Fred Couples
I thought the Englishman, given his form figures at the Masters and his recent displays, would be into odds-on territory. I’m delighted to try and double my money in this three-ball.
Finishes of fourth and sixth in the last two years speak for themselves and Casey’s also been posting solid top 20s this season.
OK, they are not the thrilling displays that almost got him over the line twice in the FedEx playoffs.
But he has shot consecutive 69s in the opening round on his last two visits and a repeat of that should see us collect.
Na has made the cut the last four years at the Masters and finished 12th twice but rounds of 66 and 68 are his best and he threw in an 85 on Saturday last year.
He played solidly at the WGC-Match Play but had missed the cut in his previous two stroke play events. Augusta is not a place to try and catch your form.
Couples is revered around here and has been very successful on the Champions Tour.
He missed last year with a recurrence of the back problems that have plagued his career and everyone knows his evergreen record at the Masters.
But the 1992 victor missed the cut in 2015 and I’d be stunned if Casey, playing at the top of his game, can’t account for him in round one.
The price that’s too big
Angel Cabrera (3/1) vs. Henrik Stenson and Tyrrell Hatton
Don’t look at me like I’m crazy.
Aside from a 78 in 2014 when he missed the cut, the Argentinean’s worst opening round at Augusta since 2007 is a 73. That’s one over par.
He played some nice stuff in Houston last week without contending and he’s up against Stenson, who has missed the cut in his last two tournaments.
He’s also broken 70 only three times in his last 12 Masters rounds.
That leaves Tyrrell Hatton to fight off. The Englishman is in some mighty form but is playing Augusta for the first time.
While I don’t subscribe to the notion that rookies – especially of his class – can’t play well at the Masters I am still suspicious of his temperament.
If things don’t go to plan, there is a devil on Hatton’s shoulder goading him into losing his rag.
I’m talking small stakes here, but is Angel the worst bet in this situation?
More from NCG at the Masters
To see who I’ve already backed to win, and who could be flying under the radar, visit our dedicated Masters site.