The Masters: Jump on the Shane Train in Round 1
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The 86th edition of the Masters is set to get underway in just over 24 hours as thunderstorms have hampered the pre-tournament festivities. Lost in the metaphorical and literal electricity in the air is yet more discussion about everyone’s favorite topic, the weather.
With showers coming through the Augusta, Georgia area on Tuesday, the firm and fast conditions players were raving about may subside. This is not to say Augusta National will be there for the taking, but a friendlier proposition likely awaits competitors on Thursday.
Even more so in the morning hours as rain is possible in the early parts of the first round. However, rain is hardly our main concern as winds, which so often wreak havoc on players at the Masters, will be prevalent.
Winds gusting up to 30 mph in the afternoon wave make the decision rather easy when it comes to which tee times to target. While sure to have some teeth, a softer Augusta National with tamer winds means our Round 1 wagers will be out on the golf course early and often.
Our friends at PointsBet Sportsbook have priced the first round market with tournament favorite, Jon Rahm, leading the way at +1600. The former world No. 1 is off late on Thursday, joining many of the premier players in the game such as Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Brooks Koepka.
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Odds to Lead After the First Round (Odds Via PointsBet):
+1600: Jon Rahm
+1700: Justin Thomas
+1800: Rory McIlroy
To Lead After the First Round:
Shane Lowry +5000 at PointsBet (0.40 units):
Our “Going for the Green” livestream brought one specific item to my attention, and that is my love for Lowry this week. In the prime of his career, the 35-year-old has started his 2022 in a flurry, ranking inside the top-10 in Strokes Gained: Approach, Par-4 Scoring, and Bogey Avoidance over the last three months.
A proficient par-5 scorer as well, Lowry was a storm cloud away from possibly winning the Honda Classic before top-15 efforts at the THE PLAYERS Championship and the Valspar Championship. Carding four rounds in the 60s at the Copperhead Course, Lowry should bring such quality to Augusta National this week.
T-8 after the first round in 2021, Lowry’s closest first round call came in 2016 when he opened with a 4-under 68, two off the pace set by Spieth. Presumably getting more and more comfortable around Augusta in recent years – having posted back-to-back top-25 results – I expect the Irishman’s game to shine through the cloudy conditions on Thursday.
Max Homa +7000 at bet365 (0.29 units):
Major championships have been a major letdown for Homa throughout his ascension to the upper echelon of the PGA Tour. Making the 10th major appearance of his career, the Californian has missed the cut in 7-of-9 outings including both times around Augusta National.
If there was ever a venue for Homa to flip the script on his ineptitude on golf’s biggest stage, it is Augusta National. A tremendous par-5 scorer, many of Homa’s peers consider him to be a top-10 ball-striker on Tour.
Proving to be just that in 2022, the three-time winner on the PGA Tour is not only adequately long off-the-tee, but also extremely sharp with his mid to long irons. He opened his tournament debut with a round of 2-under 70 in November 2020 and given the potential for soft conditions on Thursday and the current status of his game, Homa should be able to improve on that effort.
Si Woo Kim +7000 at bet365 (0.29 units):
Lost in Kim’s third round putter theatrics in last year’s Masters was yet another strong showing at Augusta National. Since missing the cut in his tournament debut, the South Korean has connected on four consecutive weekend appearances with all three April editions going for top-25 finishes.
He arrives having gained strokes on the field from tee-to-green in each full-field event of 2022 while slowly becoming one of the best drivers on Tour. The 26-year-old has yet to post a low one at Augusta National as his personal best came over the weekend in 2018 when he signed for a 4-under 68.
With this in mind, Kim has posted a sub-70 score in 17-of-28 rounds in 2022 and appears close to breaking one loose. If able to hone in on his scoring clubs and repeat his putting performance from 2021, Kim’s name should find the first page of the leaderboard on Thursday.
Round Leaders YTD: -6.79 units, -54.29%
Total YTD: +43.77 units, +47.52%
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