The first major of the year will be won and potentially lost on Sunday when the final round of The Masters takes place at the iconic Augusta National and with a star studded leaderboard on the more picturesque course in the world we are set for a wonderful night of golf.
Moving day did not disappoint and it has left with a leaderboard packed with quality, big names and stories everywhere you look so the drama, tension, nerves and pressure that Sunday at Augusta always provides is nicely stored up for us.
The stars certainly came out to play on Saturday night and at the end of it we have Patrick Reed heading the field by three shots from Rory McIlroy. In fact McIlroy is the only person within five strokes of Reed so we could be set for a head to head for the title with someone likely to win their first Masters title.
Rickie Fowler heads the chasing pack on nine under, five back, with Jon Rahm on eight under par. Henrik Stenson is another shot behind and there is a large group on six under which includes the twice former champion Bubba Watson and the European number one Tommy Fleetwood. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are on five under hoping for a big final round and some help from the leaders.
It wasn’t such a good day for our bets on Saturday with Zach Johnson losing to Hideki Matsuyama by two shots after a relatively quiet day for both of them so we need a good day on Sunday to come out on top for the week.
As you would expect the outright market largely centres around two men which are the front two in the betting. You can get odds against on both of them which is a surprise given that Reed leads by three. My instinct is that Reed will get home but you can make a case both for and against the front two so I’m reluctant to get too involved.
I’ve already got Bubba Watson in the mix and at the very worst I’m hopeful he can deliver a place but there is no reason why he can’t get to -10 which could be enough if the front two have a bad day so I’ll stay with that and head to the two balls for my Sunday betting.
Sunday 2 Balls
The leading pair of Reed and McIlroy go out at 19.40 BST with Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm out 10 minutes before them. Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood are the third last group out onto the golf course. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas combine for another tasty group slightly earlier in the piece. There are two bets I like down the card.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat vs Xander Schauffele
Match tees off at 15.50 BST
One of the earlier groups out onto the golf course is the one which sees Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Xander Schauffele going against each other with placings, money and rankings the only thing at stake between the two.
Aphibarnrat was terrible in the first round but he has been very good since then and despite making a hash of things on Thursday, the Thai is one of the leading putters in the field. This is his second Masters so he will know the Sunday pin positions which can serve him well.
This is Schauffele’s first tournament at Augusta so that will go against him and you can tell he is here for the first time because his putting stats are ordinary as he searches for the nuances of the greens and the slopes on them. Schauffele is another who is getting used to new equipment. If he had a length advantage on Aphibarnrat I’d make a case for him but he doesn’t so I can’t. I’ll take the Thai here.
Rickie Fowler vs Jon Rahm
Match tees off at 19.40 BST
Two high profile players will be out in the penultimate group of the tournament when Rickie Fowler partners Jon Rahm with winning the tournament very much on the mind of the pair of them, even if it means they will need help from those behind them on the course.
Rickie Fowler had a fantastic round on Saturday and he needed it but you get the feeling that the soft conditions were to his liking. Unfortunately for him we will be back to the conditions of the first two days where he got little going and that is a concern.
I thought last year that Jon Rahm was perfectly suited to this course but on debut it was probably too soon for him in hindsight but he has really taken to it in the last two days, carding a 68 and a 65. We know all about his power but the interesting thing is that he is third in the field in putts per hole and is yet to three putt a single hole this week. That is a tasty combination.
Fowler made a nonsense of the penultimate group of this tournament 12 months ago and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen again. Rahm looks good value to come out on top between these two.
WON – Back K.Aphibarnrat to beat X.Schauffele for a 4/10 stake at 2.15 with Betfred
Back him here:
Back J.Rahm to beat R.Fowler for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with William Hill