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27th May 2024 3:50 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

The Golf Majors: The Masters Tips from Sandy Lane

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At last, a tournament in which the cream almost always rises to the top. Augusta National provides a massive test of every professional golfer’s mettle.  It may be the most beautiful and best manicured piece of golfing property on the globe, but it places the highest demands on players’ skills and temperament. The golfer who triumphs over the four rounds played at the 7,555 yards par-72 parkland course will don the coveted Green Jacket.
The tricky Bentgrass greens will benefit those who break par on the par-4 and par-5 holes and, of course, manage to negotiate the notorious stretch of Amen Corner, comprising the 11th, 12th and 13th holes. The par-3 12th has spelled disaster for many a leading contender over the years. As one wag said: “More Green Jackets have been lost there than at the town’s dry cleaners!”
This year’s predictions of the outcome have been impacted by the inclusion of a bunch of players from the breakaway LIV Tour. It is difficult to say how they will react to being united with their old buddies and how their LIV form will blend back into the PGA  circuit (hence why I have added one more selection than usual).  Also, The Masters has always favoured those players with bags of course experience, but both Sahith Treegala and Will Zalatoris made the top ten on their course debuts in recent years. So, this week, Fuzzy Zoeller’s 1979
record of being the last winning debutant may be lost.
If you think you’re in trouble – here are a couple of mind-blowing stats which might prove useful.
17 of 18 last winners have been T10 or better after the first round.
11 of 12 last winners have been in T6 or better after round two.
With all this in mind and after double-checking that all my selections are excellent ball-strikers, here are my Magnificent Seven (NAME and Current Price) selections for The Masters.
You can get 8 places and 1/5 odds in most places – 12 places and weaker prices at Betfair fixed odds – 10 places with Betfred and Coral – 5 places ¼ odds with Bet Victor. Prices shown are best for 8 places. 
XANDER SCHAUFFLE 14/1: He has yet to win a Major and definitely should have won more tournaments than he has done, but he has never been in such good form as he is right now (4-5-2-5) and has 3 top tens here in his last five visits. I sense that this could be his big breakthrough week.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER 9/2: The 2022 winner did us a favour at Sawgrass and is in imperious form. Only one player has beaten him in his last three outings, and he has been in the top 10 in his last six. He ticks the same number of my stats boxes as Xander but, rightly, is a much shorter price.
JOAQUIN NIEMANN 25/1: Red-hot presently on the LIV Tour, with 2 victories and four top tens in his last five events, the Chilean can make good use of his Augusta experience. Remember too that he won the Genesis Open in 2022, a tournament that has produced several Masters’ winners over the years.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA 18/1: This year’s Genesis hero. Remember that blistering finish, which reminded us of how he captured the Green Jacket in 2021? Exemplary current form and an obvious love for Augusta put him firmly in the mix.
WYNDHAM CLARK 30/1: Our Pebble Beach 80-1 hero has come a long way in a short time, with three wins in the last eleven months. He followed his California victory with seconds at Bay Hill and Sawgrass and could just be the one, despite making his Masters’ debut.
LUDVIG ABERG 28/1: “Swede Dreams are made of this”? Another debutant, Ludvig has enjoyed an astonishing rise to fame.  Just a year ago, he was ranked outside the world’s top 900. Now he is #9! With a game made for this course, expect a bold show.
WILL ZALATORIS 33/1: With form here reading 2-6 in the past two years, Will is an interesting contender, given that he saves up all his best efforts for the Majors.
Stake 5 points to win on Scottie and 1 point each way on the others. After 36 holes, keep an eye on defending champion JON RAHM 12/1 and the upwardly mobile SAHITH THEEGALA 40/1.
 
Good Luck – Sandy Lane
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