Free Masters Final Round Preview
In a break from the norm (it is a Masters in November after all!) I will have a quick look at today’s final round, and a summary of the pre tournament recommendations.
The Story So Far:
Augusta has certainly played a shade easier than the norm this week, with 6 players in double digits under par heading into payday. The green speeds have not been what we have come to expect in other years, though I imagine they will be pretty close to that for today’s finale. The star of the show has very much been Dustin Johnson, who holds a 4 shot lead over 3 players who can only be described as very inexperienced in this position. I don’t see him being beaten from here. Early yesterday evening, we had 9 players tied for the lead, and seemed set for an enthralling finish to the belated 2020 Masters. A stunning 65 from DJ, whilst his main challengers stalled, has blown that apart. Anything can, and often does happen within 18 holes of Sunday golf, but such was the way Johnson drove the ball yesterday, it’s hard to envisage him not hitting 20 under par today. That would set a monster task for any of the chasers.
Though our outright positions are rather disappointing, I would have to be happy overall heading into round 4. Cameron Smith holds a massive 8 shot lead in Top Australian ahead of today, and though he will have nerves aplenty ahead of the biggest day of his career, it’s very hard to envisage a scenario where Marc Leishman reels him in. Jason Day somewhat predictably had a shocker.
Patrick Reed also holds a commanding position in the race for Top Former Winner. In truth it could be wider than the current 4 shot gap, as he disappointingly bogeyed both the last two holes of his third round. I would expect him to be solid today though, and it would be a surprise if Danny Willett hit the 11/12 under par which will likely be required to trouble him. Willett has been a surprise this week, and it may be this ignites his end of season. Tiger Woods also sits 4 back of Reed, but unless the oracle has been worked on his back, it seems unlikely he will be able to produce his best. Very sad to see once again, but he looked in severe discomfort yesterday.
Cameron Champ holds the slimmest of chances in Top Debutant, but he would need the round of his life, and plenty of help, if he was to produce a dividend for us there.
Our other bets, Jordan Spieth in FRL and Justin Harding Top South African went bust on Thursday.
In the Outright Market we do hold chances of garnering some place money. Rory McIlroy once again played himself out of contention on Day One, before producing what we know he can. He actually could have given himself a sniff of a chance today had he played the back 9 par 5’s better yesterday. I would hope he can do enough today to notch a top 9 finish for us.
Patrick Cantlay was very disappointing yesterday. Maybe the signs were there from a ragged finish to Friday, but I really expected him to produce. He was awful, especially on the greens. He could well rebound today, and a 66 would ensure a payout for us.
After an excellent opening 18 holes, Xander Schauffele remains on 5 under par 36 holes later. Not what I had hoped for!! He will need a Sunday 65 to entertain thoughts of hitting the places.
No chance of outright success, but hopefully at least one of the above can produce a place dividend. If that goes beside wins for Reed and Smith in their sections, it will have been a very profitable week. I also have a few extra recommendations ahead of today’s final round.
Winner Without Dustin Johnson:
I do hope Cameron Smith mounts a charge on glory today, but I feel it may be too big an ask. He ground out some excellent pars late in his round yesterday, but errant tee shots on 16 and 17 would be a worry ahead of today. I think it’s a benefit that he has avoided playing with DJ in the final round, but wouldn’t be rushing to back him here.
Sungjae Im and Abraham Ancer do have the pleasure of the World Number One’s company today, and I’m not so sure that will prove to be a positive. As such I can avoid them also.
RORY MCILROY has plenty of previous of superb Sunday’s here when out of contention for the win, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another today. He has 4 shots to make up on the trio on -12, but a 66 could well be enough to land the silver medal. Judging on his play of the last two days, that is a realistic target for the Northern Irishman, and odds 18/1 are worth a small interest. For those wanting to go win only, he is 22 on the exchange.
Top 20 Finish:
I was close to backing LEE WESTWOOD in this section before the off, but will play him now at a bigger price with 18 holes to play. He sits in a share of 29th, which is currently 3 shots outside of the Top 20, but I can see him shooting the 68 he likely requires to produce a payout for us. His record at Augusta is simply superb, and a pressure free Sunday from off the pace has always been an ideal scenario for the Englishman. Apart from Champ, the 5 players on -6 don’t really appeal today, and the hope would be at least a couple falter. -7 should at least get us a chunky share, and odds of 19/4 on Westwood achieving it seem worth availing of. For those without a William Hill account, I would expect you to get matched at 6 on the exchange.
13.12 3 Ball:
This heat sees Tiger Woods and Scottie Scheffler pitched in against reigning Open champion, SHANE LOWRY. I like the Irishman’s chances of repeating what he did in the third round, and beat the score of his Sunday partners. Like McIlroy, Shane shot himself out of contention on Thursday, but has also rallied very well since. As I alluded to in my pre event preview, I do like the course fit for Lowry here, and would expect him to produce something akin to the last two days. Tiger really does look to be struggling, and is one to take on here. Scheffler has had a decent debut, but so too have so many others. It suggests Augusta has been playing quite a bit differently, and is pretty ‘new’ to everybody. I expect the whole experience to be more April like today, and it might just catch Sheffler out on the greens. 21/10 is too big here on Lowry, in a 3 ball I would actually make him favourite for.
14.18 3 Ball:
I quite like backing the outsider of three in Sunday 3 Balls. The reason they are grouped together is that they are on, or very close to, the same score. They have been playing to a similar standard over the previous 54 holes. Especially if they are not in contention, where the ‘lesser’ player may have struggled to cope, and the price discrepancy more justified.
One such example comes in the shape of RAFA CABRERA BELLO. He faces Augusta big guns, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, and I fancy his chances of taking them down. Legends of the game they may be, but misfiring they are too. Phil surprised me with his display on Thursday. His round 2 and 3 showings are far more in keeping with how he has been playing on the main tour of late. I would expect today to be more Friday than Thursday. Jordan simply hasn’t caught fire this week at all. I expected him to have at least one good round, and I hope that isn’t to be today, but quite simply he is miles from his best. Both himself and Phil will be frustrated with their positions and games these past couple of days. They may ignite each other today, but I doubt it. Bello has always been a good Sunday operator from off the pace. He hasn’t been in great form himself, but given the ongoing troubles of his two rivals here, he shouldn’t be 11/4 for this 18 hole shootout.
1pt ew Rory McIlroy 18/1 (¼ odds 3 places, WH) 16/1 fine, currently 22 on exchange. Also 22/1 with Betway.
Top 20 Finish:
2pts Lee Westwood 19/4 (WH) Currently 6 on the exchange
13.12 3 Ball:
2pts Shane Lowry 21/10 (PP/BFSB) *2/1 acceptable
14.18 3 Ball:
2pts Rafa Cabrera Bello 11/4 (BFSB/Betway) *9/4 and upwards acceptable
Thanks all for reading this week. Hopefully today goes well, and we can add to the season’s profits. Two events left this term, hopefully I will see you all back with me for 2021 and an assault on a 5th successive profitable year.
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