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US Masters betting preview: Six players banking on getting lucky at Augusta

Cherry-popping picks who deserve some Georgia action.

by Sean Goff | April 7, 2014

No debutant has won the Masters in 35 years since Fuzzy “fried chicken” Zoeller beat Ed Sneed and Tom Watson in a 1979 play-off.

Masters’ watchers know that you’ve got to show Augusta National some love before she yields up the Green Jacket and a place among golf’s elite in the first Major of the season.

Despite years of frustration, these six have saved their best moves for Amen Corner and just might be about to do the business.

1. Jason Day 16/1

Jason Day 840

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What more does he have to do to don the coveted green jacket? Day has finished T2 and third in his last two US Masters (withdrew in 2012) and looks nailed on for another big charge given his accomplished course management.

Two wins and six runner-up berths has seen him trouser almost $16 million in prize money Stateside – but he’s yet to break into the Majors’ club.

Looked the likely winner here last year, before finishing third to Adam Scott and sits fourth in the World rankings after his WGC Accenture World Matchplay title in February.

Just needs to make that final push to set up a late-night date with Scott in the Butler Cabin on Sunday night.

2. Dustin Johnson 25/1

Dustin Johnson 840

DJ did a passable impression of Arsenal last weekend when bottling it just as his Masters challenge started to get interesting.

Signing off with your second-worst round ever (80) a week before the Masters is not the ideal preparation – to say the least – as the curse of having your Mrs appear on the cover of Golf Digest struck again.

Mr Paulina Gretsky seemed to have curbed his erratic ways with five Top 10 finishes before his Houston melt-down. A day two collapse at Augusta last year – when he was top of the leaderboard – saw him drop six shots in four holes before eventually finishing T13.

If the South Carolina slugger can erase his Houston horror show he may finally deliver that much-promised Major.

3. Brandt Snedeker 33/1

Brandt Snedeker 840

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The albino-haired Snedeker coasted through tournaments like Juan Mata through Newcastle’s defence on his way to the 2012 Fed Ex Championship and a $10m booty bonanza.

His form has trailed off since then – not helped by regular injections for “low-bone turnover” but form figures of T15, T19 and T6 at Augusta in the past three seasons means Snedeker’s Masters-graph could be pointing to another high finish.

Manages his appearances better now and finished T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on his last start and has the Masters mojo to triumph on Sunday.

4. Sergio Garcia 22/1

Sergio Garcia 840

Debuted as an amateur when last year’s winning Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal became the last European winner in 1999.

Seemed destined for greatness but hasn’t won a Major in the intervening 14 years. Can be his own biggest enemy – once Tiger Woods isn’t around – with a tendency to drift to the dark side when things don’t go his way.

But the tempermental Spaniard’s course form stands up to the scrutiny – and was T12 behind Bubba Watson in 2012 and T8 to Adam Scott last year.

A confidence-building third in Houston to Matt Jones proves his game is in good shape.

5. Matt Kuchar 22/1

Matt Kuchar 840

Suffered a play-off loss to Jones in Texas but Kuchar’s overall game puts him bang in the firing line for a first Masters’ title. One of the most consistent players on Tour with six Top 10s in this wrap-around season.

Tied for the lead with three holes to play in 2012 Masters but jumped on the bogey bus a hole later and missed out on a play-off place with eventual winner Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Could enter the choppy waters of ‘best player never to win a Major’ soon if he’s not careful. But with a T3 and an eighth-place finish in the last two years it could be a different story this time around if he’s in a winning position.

6. Justin Rose 28/1

Justin Rose 840

Reigning US Open champ just nudges compatriot Lee Westwood out of the list since making his Major breakthrough at Medinah last season. Has finished 11, 8 and 25th at Augusta in the last three years.

Has struggled with tendonitis in his shoulder and has played just two events this season. But where Westwood’s Augusta form figures are second to none – 2-11-3-8 – he struggles with Major-itis when in a winning position.

Rose ground it out for a US Open win last year to become England’s first Major winner since Nick Faldo (1996) and ending the European jinx in Georgia this week would be another neat trick.

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