The Betting.Betfair each-way betting column is more than £600 up so far this year with three tournament winners and a host of places so can we score again with the first major of 2014? Here are our picks for the Masters...
"Schwartzel ticks many boxes this week - he’s a previous winner of this event, he made the cut and finished top-30 at Augusta last year (a trend that is becoming a decent form guide), and he’s played well this season at tough courses like Riviera and Doral."
Mike Norman: Back Charl Schwartzel @ 33/1
*Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places
Dan Geraghty: Back Russell Henley @ 201.0200/1
Last year, during his first season on the PGA Tour, Russell Henley wasted no time in punching his ticket to the the Masters; winning his very first start at the Sony Open. This year Henley's participation at Augusta looked hugely unlikely until he beat Rory McIlroy (and Russell Knox) in a playoff at the Honda Classic a few weeks ago to secure his place. That performance was remarkably Henley's first top 20 of the season but the former Georgia Bulldog had getting back to the Masters on his mind ever since his debut last year - "I just can't imagine not playing again. I just feel like that would hurt me really bad." - and he found a way to make it happen. Henley posted a final round 66 to finish tied 7th at the Shell Houston Open last Sunday, showing his game is still in good shape. The young American admits he was overwhelmed on his Augusta debut last year, expect a vastly improved display this time around.
Joe Dyer: Back Hunter Mahan @ 51.050/1
With five PGA Tour wins, two Ryder Cup appearances and six top-10 finishes in majors to his name we know that Hunter Mahan is a top-class golfer. Two of those high finishes have come at Augusta - in 2009 and 2010 as well as a 12th in 2012 - and I think 50-1 is a fair price for another strong showing in the year's first major. The stats show that Mahan is long (but not wild) with the driver, hitting greens with his irons and putting like a dream (ranked 16th on tour) when he gets to the dancefloor. A nice combination in other words. Lastly, my man is in decent nick in tournament play this year with a best finish of fourth (at February's Waste Management Phoenix Open) along with two other top-10s and a strong enough showing at WGC Matchplay. This is a major so to there is naturally plenty of quality in the field but I'm happy to have the relatively unfashionable Hunter on my side at longer odds than many of his contemporaries.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Rickie Fowler @ 71.070/1
Almost from the moment he turned professional, Rickie Fowler has been widely tipped as a future major champion and there may not be many more opportunities to take these sort of attractive odds in one. It normally takes at least three visits to Augusta to make an impact and, while he finished mid-division on all three, they were not without promise. Fowler's high-ball flight and confident putting stroke are perfect for Augusta and he clearly plays tough, championship courses well. His very best performances have come at Quail Hollow, Sawgrass, Bay Hill, Royal St Georges and he also caught the eye in last year's US Open. In horse racing terms, he has great scope for improvement and could be ahead of the handicapper after undergoing swing changes. Furthermore, Sunday's sixth place was his best result of the season.
Steve Rawlings: Back Bubba Watson @ 29.028/1
Bubba Watson's performance last time out at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was just too bad to be believed, as was his excuse for the bitterly disappointing opening round of 83 which saw him withdraw from the event citing allergies. Anyone can have an off day, allergy or no allergy, and prior to that aberration the 2012 Masters Champion had been enjoying an incredibly successful season. In his three stroke-play tournaments prior to his misdemeanour at Bay Hill he'd finished second at the Phoenix Open, won the Northern Trust Open and finished runner-up at the WGC Cadillac Championship, where all his stats were superb, especially his much improved putting. Repeat winners are fairly common at Augusta - a venue few players ever get to grips with - and I can very easily see Bubba collecting a second Green Jacket this week.
Mike Norman: Back Charl Schwartzel @ 34.033/1
Everything seems to be rosy in the Schwartzel household following the birth of their first child Olivia a few weeks ago, and there's a quirky trend in recent seasons of golfers performing well in the tournaments that immediately follow such a happy occasion (before the sleepless nights kick in!). But, apart from that, Schwartzel ticks many boxes this week - he's a previous winner of this event, he made the cut and finished top-30 at Augusta last year (a trend that is becoming a decent form guide), and he's played well this season at tough courses like Riviera and Doral. A top-20 finish at last week's Shell Houston Open also bodes well and I'm very happy to have him on my side as an each-way wager.
Season P/L (£5 e/w per selection)
1. Dan Geraghty: +£603.75
2. Joe Dyer: +£225.00
3. Paul Krishnamurty: -£52.50
4. Steve Rawlings: -£61.25
5. Mike Norman: -£110.00