US Masters Tips: Don't write off these four Augusta specialists

Fred Couples has been a mainstay in Masters contention for 30 years

The Masters leaderboard always seems to feature the same, familiar names, but not all of them are among the favourites. Paul Krishnamurty has his eye on the following quartet of famous, yet widely disregarded outsiders...

"If ever an example of age being no barrier to success at Augusta were needed, Fred Couples provides it."

If pressed to name the two most important attributes for punters on which to focus at The Masters, I would first nominate extensive experience of Augusta, followed by a proven liking of this unique test. Very few players thrive here early in their career, especially debutants, but many have contended even into their fifties.

So it may well pay to swerve the likes of heavily-backed Jordan Spieth and look instead for course specialists at vastly bigger odds. Consider the following four cases.

KJ Choi
Masters odds: 230.0229/1

Few would have rated KJ as a future, repeat contender when he first appeared at Augusta, but the Korean came pretty close to winning in 2004 and 2010. It's only three years since he last made the top-10 here, during the same season as his career highlight of winning the Players Championship.

That was the last of eight titles but on this year's evidence, he's still just about competitive at this level. Five top-20s from his last ten starts is fair enough, and the fact he was second at Torrey Pines in January shows he can still compete on a very long course. Whilst it is asking a lot for Choi to win this year's Masters, he looks exactly the type for speciality bets, such as three-balls and place markets. He'll also take plenty of beating in the Top Asian market.

Fred Couples
Masters odds: 240.0239/1

If ever an example of age being no barrier to success at Augusta were needed, Fred Couples provides it. The 1992 champion has remained highly competitive in this major well into his fifties, making the top-15 in each of the last four renewals, taking his career tally for that target to a remarkable 17. Every year he's been available at these sort of enormous odds, despite boasting a course record that many contenders would die for. With no evidence of decline to be found in his stellar Champions Tour golf, there's no reason why Freddy can't give big-priced backers a run for their money once again.

Trevor Immelman
Masters odds: 240.0239/1

It is a tragedy that the 2008 champion's career has been plagued with injury, denying an outstanding talent to fulfil it's potential. All is not lost, however, as the South African is showing signs of a revival, winning on the Tour and registering some respectable, mid-division numbers on the PGA Tour.

That is of course a world away from winning, or even contending, at a Masters, but Immelman has shown before that he can leave recent form behind on what must be his favourite course. Of five career top 20s at Augusta, three have come since he won the event, during similarly anonymous seasons. Another top-20 is well within range and decent odds will be available.

Miguel-Angel Jimenez
Masters odds: 280.0279/1

Has there ever been a more under-rated player than Jimenez? This is a golfer who was probably overpriced for every one of his 20 European Tour wins, the last of which came only last December. Of course it would represent a massive shock were he to win a first major at the age of 50, but it will be a surprise if Miguel doesn't acquit himself with credit and he's been making a mockery of the ageing process for years.

Indeed like many others, he has improved for experience at Augusta. In his last 11 Masters, Jimenez has missed only one cut and made the top-12 five times. Bets on a top-10 and top-20 finish are certainly in order and he'll be good value to upset Sergio Garcia in the Top Spaniard market.

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