Start with this banker double
Jon Rahm to beat Tiger Woods
Justin Thomas to beat Charl Schwartzel
At the start of the week, the idea of these matches being among the final groups was virtually unthinkable. Normally, I'm very wary about backing short-priced 'bankers' over 18 holes but this double looks extremely solid. It pays 2.111/10 and I have to think it would land well over 50% of the time.
Tiger seemed to run out of steam yesterday and really struggled on the greens down the back-nine. After a heroic performance, he's more than demonstrated that he's still got a future in the game, but I can't help thinking this is a round too far. Rahm has been really disappointing but it wouldn't surprise to see him go really low with the pressure off.
Likewise, last night's back-nine spelt the end of Schwartzel's surprising run at this major. Whereas Thomas blew his chance on day one and has fought back superbly. I expect him to continue to stay on and grab one of the places.
Tony Finau to beat Sergio Garcia
Trust the numbers here. Tony Finau is a round four specialist whereas Garcia never has been. Even in a poor season, Finau ranks fifth on the PGA Tour's R4 scoring average list, compared to 126th for Garcia. Six of the former's last seven final rounds were sub-70 and he averages 70.5 for his four final rounds at Augusta.
Keep opposing Glover
Back Patrick Reed to beat Lucas Glover
Again, this bet is there to be seen in the numbers. Former champion Reed is one of the grittiest players around so one would expect him to fare well in final rounds, despite all being lost more often than not. Indeed he averages 71.17 for the final round here, compared to 75 for Glover.
Despite faring better than usual in this Masters, Glover has still only made par or better on six out of 23 rounds at Augusta. He's also well behind Reed in the PGA Tour's R4 scoring average - 143rd compared to 45th.
Could injury take toll on Matsuyama?
Back Viktor Hovland to beat Hideki Matsuyama
It has been a long week for the defending champion, with all the extra demands to consider besides golf. Plus he's been carrying an injury. Whilst I couldn't rule out a class act like Matsuyama from hitting a great round today, I am happy to take him on with one of the game's elite.
Hovland is still relatively inexperienced, learning this unique set-up, and is probably due after ten rounds, due a low score. Their respective scores yesterday were 71 and 77.
Note Simpson's final round performance here
Back Webb Simpson to beat Will Zalatoris
Speaking of gradual improvement with course experience, Webb Simpson offers a case in point. He used to have a poor record at Augusta yet is getting there, and his final round record is superb. In the last four renewals, he averages 68.69 for this round.
As the clear outsider, he's a no-brainer pick here. Zalatoris was very erratic last night and his final round record is surprisingly poor. He ranks 141st this season and was only 82nd in 2021.
Fleetwood opposed due to round four record
Back Jason Kokrak to beat Tommy Fleetwood
Finally, Tommy Fleetwood looks another vulnerable favourite. He averages a dismal 74.5 for his last four rounds here and hasn't broken 70 in his last nine final rounds. Granted Kokrak hasn't been at his best this season, but at least this week's efforts represent a marked improvement.
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