Masters 2016: Back D Johnson and Horschel to take opening day honours

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Who will come out on top in the first round three-balls?

You’ll have to pay if you want to back one of the top stars in today’s three-balls on the opening day of the Masters.

Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Bubba Watson – all are being offered at odds-on prices to win their respective matches as the year’s first Major gets under way.

That merely makes the even money for Dustin Johnson to come out on top against Justin Thomas and Emiliano Grillo all the more intriguing.

Third at the Houston Open last week and fourth at the Northern Trust Open, the 31-year-old has contended consistently without getting the job done this season.

After some indifferent showings at Augusta National, DJ was tied-6th last year and opened up with a round of 70.

I reckon a repeat of that would be enough to see him home in this group.

Thomas is a prodigiously talented player but both he and Grillo are Masters rookies and Augusta is a course that can be tough to handle first time out in tournament conditions.

Given his experience, and form last year, I was surprised that Johnson wasn’t in the odds-on club and I will be taking the value on him to get the job done.

Also at even money is Billy Horschel and that also looks a decent price in his match-up with Darren Clarke and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Billy Horschel of the United States plays a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2014 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Clarke’s game has gone the way of most Ryder Cup captains – little golf and no cuts – while I fear Fitzpatrick’s length (he averages just 284 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour) may prove too much on a course that has favoured bigger hitters in recent years.

Horschel has top 10s at the Honda Classic and the Farmers Insurance this season and shot 70 in the opening round last year before blowing up to miss the cut.

He should get the job done.

Finally, Ryan Moore is too big a price at 12/5 in his match-up with Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett.

The American has shown some serious form in the past month and, although he hasn’t broken 70 in the opening round in his last three tries at Augusta, he is in great shape heading into this year’s event.

Garcia has a love-hate relationship with the Masters and you never know quite what you are going to get, while Willett is a new father and his concentration may be elsewhere.

It’s a bit early for the fabled nappy factor to take effect and, with interrupted preparations, Moore could be set to take advantage.

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