Ten over 50s are in the Augusta line-up this year but Steve thinks only four can get competitive and that only one man is consistent enough to be relied upon...
“Freddy Coupes finished inside the top-20 for the fifth year-in-a-row last year and he’s the one that looks most likely to perform well again this time around.”
All sorts of memories come flooding back when looking through the ten contenders for the Top Senior market. Larry Mize's remarkable chip-in to deny Greg Norman in extra time in 1987, Sandy Lyle's bunker shot on 18 in 1988 and Ian Woosnam's par save and fist-pump on the 72nd hole in 1991 are especially strong memories for me. Tiger Woods slipping the Green jacket on Mark O'Meara, as recently as 1998, is another that springs immediately to mind but in truth, those four have very little chance of being competitive this year. And the same can be said of Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw.
The market, quite rightly, revolves around four men - Miguel Angel Jimenez, Freddy Couples, Vijay Singh and Bernhard Langer. The one I really like is Couples...
Jimenez heads the market and given he was fourth last year, that he's already won again on the Champions Tour this year, and that he's also recently finished inside the top-ten on the European Tour, it's not easy to crab his chances. I wrote about how hard it is to back up a strong finish at Augusta 12 months later in my preview though and it's by no means a given that he can shine this time around.
Vijay Singh has been in decent form this year with a top-12 finish on the PGA Tour at both the Northern Trust Open and the Valspar Championship, thanks largely to a much-improved putter, but he hasn't played well at Augusta in a long while and it's seven years since he finished inside the top-25.
Bernard Langer's tied 8th last year, at the age of 56, was a magnificent achievement but I get the impression it may well have been a one-off. That was the first time he'd cracked the top-20 in a decade and in his seven previous visits he'd missed the cut six times.
Freddy Couples' record at Augusta is legendary and he was once again in the mix 12 months ago before fading on day four with a final round of 75. Even with that disappointing closing round, he still finished inside the top-20 for the fifth year-in-a-row and he's the one that looks most likely to perform well again this time around.
It's quite possible that Jimenez, Singh and Langer all underperform and Couples backers are rewarded without too much stress and he's a fair price at anything over 3.55/2.
Fred Couples @ 3.55/2 or above
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