US Masters

US Masters 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Three picks between 40/1 and 50/1

Irish golfer Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry can make a fast start

It's the opening major of 2024 and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Augusta National...

  • 40/141.00 Shane Lowry has made quick starts at Augusta

  • 50/151.00 Jason Day has strong course/current R1 form

  • 50/151.00 Sergio Garcia has a host of low openers here

Weather forecast for Thursday

Weather affected last year's Masters and it looks troublesome again on day one.

Thunderstorms are predicted in the morning so delays look likely.

All we can do really is accept that it's impossible to know who will get the best deal. In that sense, it could be worth looking at various parts of the draw.

Thankfully, sunny conditions are predicted for the rest of the tournament so those having to play delayed first rounds on Friday should have decent weather when they return.

It's an inexact science but I'll play two from the Thursday afternoon wave and one from the morning.

First-round leader history

2023 - 65 Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, 67 Jason Day, Cameron Young, 68 Sam Bennett, Sam Burns, Shane Lowry, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland

2022 - 67 Sungjae Im, 68 Cameron Smith, 69 Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett, Joaqin Niemann

2021 - 65 Justin Rose, 69 Brian Harman, Hideki Matsuyama, 70 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatoris

2020 - 65 Paul Casey, Dylan Frittelli, Dustin Johnson, 66 Sungjae Im, Justin Thomas, 67 Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Cameron Smith

2019 - 66 Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, 67 Phil Mickelson, 68 Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, 69 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Harding, Kevin Kisner, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott

2018 - 66 Jordan Spieth, 68 Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, 69 Rafa Cabrera Bello, Adam Hadwin, Charley Hoffman, HaoTong Li, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Henrik Stenson.

Last year, I wrote that in four of the last five Masters, we've had a first-round leader who had previously finished first or second at Augusta National.

Make that five in six after Koepka once again tied for the lead thanks to a 65. It looks a useful guide.

Back Shane Lowry @ 40/141.00

Shane Lowry hasn't quite managed a top two in the Masters but tied third two years ago is near enough and clearly he's comfortable at the course having made the top 25 in each of the last four years.

As for good starts, he can add those in too. Lowry was second after 18 holes in 2016 while he also held strong first-round positions in 2023 (sixth), 2021 (eighth) and 2017 (12th).

The Irishman has also twice been in the top three after day one of the Open Championship, one of those coming in his famous win at Royal Portrush.

Away from the majors, Lowry had a piece of the lead after day one of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month while he was also high on the Thursday leaderboard at the Farmers Insurance Open (fourth) and the Phoenix Open (eighth).

Listing Lowry's last seven opening rounds certainly makes for pleasant reading: 69-71-66-67-67-66-67.

He tees off at 12.24pm local and, of course, will be able to handle the adverse weather better than most.

Back Shane Lowry each-way @ 40/141.00

Bet here

Back Jason Day @ 50/151.00

Jason Day is a Masters runner-up in his time and has also placed third, fifth, 10th and 20th (twice) at Augusta National.

Of relevance to this market, he's made fast starts too.

The Aussie was second after day one in 2015 and fourth through the first lap last year. He posted 5-under 67s on both occasions.

Day has been in the top two after 36 holes on three occasions so we're definitely used to seeing him high on a Masters leaderboard.

There's also encouragement to be found in his recent openers.

In his last four events, the 2015 US PGA winner was second after day one at Riviera - a course that correlates well with Augusta - thanks to a 65 while a 67 put him in the top six after Thursday's play at Sawgrass.

Day, who was tied second in last summer's Open Championship, is an afternoon starter at 1.24pm local alongside Tiger Woods and Max Homa. That should get his juices flowing.

Back Jason Day each-way @ 50/151.00

Bet here

Back Sergio Garcia @ 50/151.00

For an early starter, I'll go with a former Masters champion: Sergio Garcia.

Those paying close attention to the LIV Tour will know that the Spaniard isn't just turning up and counting his money.

Garcia has a trio of top-three finishes in his last seven LIV appearances and last week finished runner-up in the Miami event.

He was the first-round leader there thanks to a 67 and, although the field sizes are smaller, it's good to note that he also set the pace seven starts earlier in Chicago.

The veteran has been playing here since 1999 and in that time he was the FRL in 2013 and has finished round one in the top six (there are six payout places here) on no less than seven occasions.

Garcia has lost two play-offs on the LIV Tour this season, including last week, so will hopefully come out with some hunger in his belly when teeing off in Group 7 at 9.12am.

Back Sergio Garcia each-way @ 50/151.00

Bet here

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