There are few occasions in golf – in all of sport for that matter – as beguiling as the Sunday of The Masters. Just as the leader is starting to get a little comfortable in their work, along comes Amen Corner (the 10th, 11th and 12th holes) to shake you from your slumber.
It has accounted for one of the game’s greats (Greg Norman) and last year brought another young star, Jordan Spieth, to his knees as a five-shot lead disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Whether you are a golf fan or can’t stand the game, the back nine holes on Sunday evening will be TV gold, you can bet on that.
Speaking of bets, where is the smart money going this week?
Masters Winner Betting Tips: Dustin Johnson (7/1)
Yes, we’re dusting off the big dog for our main top for The Masters, and having recorded six top-10 finishes in his last seven starts why wouldn’t we.
You’ll read a lot of guff this week about DJ being too short a price, or these stats about no world number one ever slipping into the Green Jacket. We’re smart enough to realise those are both hokum arguments.
Johnson is playing some of the best golf you will ever see at the moment, and his one weakness – his short game – has improved to the extent that he has won his last three tournament starts. So, if you want to back a winner this week, why would you look anywhere else?
There’s even a myth that he doesn’t suit Augusta. Well, he’s finished in the top ten here in his last two starts, and right now he’s playing better golf than ever before.
Is he too short at 7/1? Possibly. But you’d be crazy to bet your hard-earned in the winner market anywhere else.
Each Way Betting Tip: Rickie Fowler (25/1)
Fowler is still awaiting his first major victory, but you sense it is only a matter of time before he lands one of the biggies. And given how well he is playing right now, a decent tilt at the Green Jacket this week is anticipated.
A winner at the Honda Classic a few weeks ago, Fowler has since followed up with a couple of top-20 finishes and, last time out, he really perhaps should have won the Shell Houston Open, eventually settling for third place. Nevertheless, his form has maintained its peak and that is great news heading into a major.
With a pair of top-10s to his name at Augusta in his last three trips, nobody can say that Fowler isn’t well suited to the course. So it appears all the stars are aligning for the 28-year-old.
Top 10 Finish: Bill Haas (8/1)
You won’t find many players that have made seven cuts in a row at Augusta, but Bill Haas is a member of such an illustrious club.
None of those have been top-10s unfortunately – 12th and two 20th places are his best – but the missing ingredient this week is that he has form to call upon. He reached the semi-finals of the WGC Match Play event in his last start, and you don’t do that unless you are striking the ball rather sweetly.
He also ranks top-20 on tour for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Strokes Gained: Around the Green and Greens in Regulation; all essential components this week.
Top 20 Finish: Martin Kaymer (4/1)
The German may only be 32 years old but he already has stacks of major appearances under his belt. He’s a winner of both the PGA Championship (2010) and the US Open (2014) and has triumphed in eleven European Tour events, and while it has been a while since Kaymer featured at the business end of a biggie if the wind gets up in Augusta he will be well-suited for the conditions.
The Masters traditionally isn’t his favourite tournament but he has made the cut here in four of his last five trips, and all-in-all he has eight major top-10 finishes to his name.
He’s appeared five times on the PGA Tour this term and delivered very respectable figures of 17-23-23-4-40.