The Masters kicked off in wonderful style on Thursday and a day of even greater importance takes place on Friday when the second round is hopefully completed without any weather delays after which we will lose some of the field at the halfway cut.
That means those who had good opening rounds on Thursday will be looking to consolidate their position whereas players not so fortunate will be eager for a low one on Friday to be here for the weekend of the first major of the season.
Round 1 Recap
On a day where low scoring was very difficult to come by, Justin Rose broke from the pack to fire a seven under 65 and take a four stroke lead into the second round. He leads by that mark from two players on three under – Hideki Matsuyama and our pre-tournament pick Brian Harman. The likes of Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are on two under and of the 12 players who are under par in total, the rest include further outright selections Jason Kokrak and Jordan Spieth.
It was not such a good day for us betting wise though as Sebastian Munoz bogeyed the last two holes to lose his three ball to Henrik Stenson of all players and worse came later when CT Pan put in a shocking performance around the turn to offer nothing against Robert MacIntyre so there is certainly plenty of work to do before the tournament ends to get back in profit for the match bets for the week.
There is a second round leader market to have a look at but there isn’t really much interest from my side to get stuck into it. I say that for a couple of reasons, the first being that if Rose shoots level par or better he’ll lead but he’s plenty short enough and the other reason is that there are conflicting reports on the weather forecast and the last thing I want is to plough into someone who posts a total only for later starters to come out on a softer course later on Friday or even Saturday and nab me at the line. That market is best parked for if the field bunches up over the weekend.
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Friday 3 Balls
The field go out in the same groups which they played in on Thursday so we have three balls off the first tee with the exception of the two that are two balls due to the lower number of the field this year. The leader Justin Rose goes out at 14.36 BST but the big groups over the course of the day are the Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Collin Morikawa one at 15.54 BST and Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy at 18.48 BST. They will get the biggest galleries over the course of the day but there are two others which interest me from a betting point of view.
Adam Scott/Bryson DeChambeau/Max Homa
Match tees off at 15.30 BST
The first of the groups I like from a betting point of view comes towards the middle of the day as the former champion Adam Scott goes out alongside the US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau and the Genesis Invitational champion Max Homa.
Scott and Homa scared the spoils in this group on Thursday, both carding a two over par round whereas DeChambeau was way back on four over par and already battling just to be here for the weekend. The more DeChambeau plays this course the more convincing it looks that he doesn’t know how to play it, or is no longer in tune with his game enough to play it. He has never looked comfortable on these greens and bashing it miles isn’t the way forward when it is firm and fast so I’m counting him out. Homa might well improve for the competitive spin here but Scott almost certainly will. He is renowned for playing tough courses well and now that he has seen how tough it is I think he’ll play a very sensible round of golf. He knows the areas to miss and the places to be aggressive and on a potentially second day of difficult conditions I think the Australian will come through this time.
Sebastian Munoz/Henrik Stenson/Robert Streb
Match tees off at 16.42 BST
The second bet I like comes in one of the groups I got stuck into on Thursday where I am hoping to get my money back on Sebastian Munoz who literally threw away the group honours with two poor finishing holes to lose by one to Henrik Stenson while still beating Robert Streb by one.
I’m going to keep faith in the Colombian however. Back in November he carded his lowest round of the four in the second round and I suspect he’ll improve again having tasted the conditions. Stenson won the group almost by default. His putter was on fire on Thursday but clearly that is an anomaly when you have gone and recorded six straight missed cuts in succession so until I see otherwise I’m going to assume that was some kind of freak round. Streb still hasn’t bettered 75 around this course and a bad start will have him needing to take risks to make the cut which is the last thing he needs. Munoz has drifted since Thursday but I’ll keep the faith.
Back A.Scott to beat B.Dechambeau & M.Homa for a 3/10 stake at 3.25 with Coral
Back S.Munoz to beat H.Stenson & R.Streb for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Betway