We have made it. The Masters is finally upon us and it is arguably the most anticipated renewal since its inception in 1934, with an intriguing dynamic of PGA Tour and LIV Golf players. Take a look below at my three banker selections for the Masters, but first…
The Masters 2023 preview
Venue: Augusta National, Georgia, USA
Date: April 6-9, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,545 yards
Course summary: The famous Augusta National needs no introduction. With the April promise of Azaleas in full bloom, Augusta will undoubtedly look pristine as the immaculate fairways weave towards the tricky Bentgrass greens. The ability to manipulate the ball, predominantly from right to left, is a real advantage here on this strategist’s paradise. Elevation changes, wind conditions, and the famous water around Amen Corner should all play a factor in deciding the eventual winner come Sunday.
Purse: $15 million
Defending champion: Scottie Scheffler (-10)
Masters TV schedule
Click here for a full breakdown of the Masters coverage in the UK.
The Masters 2023 betting tips
Banker No 1: Jon Rahm @ 9/1
Jon Rahm is my favourite for this year’s Masters as I believe of the leading three, he has the least amount of pressure to win this week which may just be the edge he needs to outlast Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy.
When Rahm won in Madrid in October and then proceeded to add four more titles in his next nine starts, it was fair to say the spotlight was firmly on the Spaniard. Then he fell away at Bay Hill when leading, withdrew from the Players with illness, and then failed to progress from his group at the WGC Match Play. This has all led to Scheffler and Rory shortening in the market and Rahm going in the opposite direction.
I am not too worried about the Match Play exit, the illness at the Players is an isolated incident, and the ejection at Bay Hill worries me little as well, given the volatility of that golf course.
Instead, I will focus on the fact his worst two starts here came on debut, and last year when his short game was messy, and both times he still finished T27. From 2018 to 2021 though, Rahm finished inside the top nine four straight times and already has experience of holding the halfway lead here.
With six more wins under his belt since his last visit, Rahm returns a better player and, with Scheffler the defending champion and Rory going for the Grand Slam, he should be able to go about his business with slightly less media pressure.
Banker No 2: Tony Finau @ 22/1
Finau is another player that has collected wins since his last visit to Augusta, and it is perhaps more important in his case given he was still considered an “underachiever” when pegging it up last year.
Finau won three times in 2022, following his last appearance here, and when you look at his course record, he’s another one like Rahm who consistently produces around Augusta National.
He has three top-10 finishes here in five starts and whilst he was disappointing last year when finishing 35th, there is no doubting his ability, especially in the rich vein of form he has been in. Add that to a clear affinity with Augusta and you have a strong contender.
Finau came closest in 2019 when he went into Sunday two shots back, and that is where he finished up, as he ended the week in 5th place behind Tiger Woods who he played with in the final group on that historic day. Now Finau has added another three wins to his record, it is going to be great to see how that translates when it comes to the majors and Augusta may well be the spot he breaks through.
The big-hitting, ever-smiling superstar ranks 4th in SG Total, and that suggests Finau is primed to contend in his favourite major.
Banker No 3: Sungjae Im @ 35/1
Sungjae Im finished 2nd on his Masters debut in 2020, never ending a round worse than 6th on the leaderboard, and he came back last year to put in a similar performance.
Last year, Im finished in 8th place, but he was the first-round leader, sat 2nd going into the weekend and even on Sunday, he was in 3rd place and had a chance to put pressure on Scheffler.
Im has been inside the top three after five of his ten rounds here, and inside the top eight after eight of them overall, so he’s been firmly in the mix basically his whole career at The Masters, barring a diabolical effort in 2021 which can be ignored.
He has finished inside the top six three times already in 2023 and now is the time for him to step up and land the biggest win of his career after showing plenty in his first three goes around Augusta.
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