Betting: Matsuyama ready to master Augusta for Japan

 
Will Atkins
World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play - Round Two
25-year-old Hideki Matsuyama can claim his first major victory this weekend (Source: Getty)

There is no week quite like Masters week.

Be it the history and tradition of Augusta, the beauty of the course, or the sheer brilliance of the world’s best golfers it seems to inspire, the next four days are often the most anticipated of the sporting calendar.

Last year served up a modern classic.

Youngster Jordan Speith was five clear at the turn only to collapse and drop six shots in three holes, allowing Danny Willett to show his Sheffield steel and become the first English winner since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996.

Willett hasn’t exactly enjoyed a vintage 12 months since, but nothing can ever take away his Green Jacket, or the right to be called a Masters Champion.

Two players who are desperately waiting for that trip to the Butler Cabin on Sunday afternoon are Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.

World number one Johnson is the form player, winning six of his last eighteen tournaments, and finally has the swagger of a major champion after his US Open victory last year.

His big-hitting game should suit this week perfectly. But I’d always be hesitant to back someone as short as his 6/1 in some places.

Read more: Johnson emerges as Masters doubt after "serious fall"

McIlroy, like Speith, is no stranger to a Masters meltdown, and the scars of his 2011 collapse are still evident.

He’s only played 14 competitive rounds in 2017, and may not quite be ready to complete his career grand slam.

Instead, I think there’s value elsewhere.

Hideki Matsuyama has finished in the top seven in the last two years, having previously been the low amateur in 2011.

The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough 2016, winning four times, and tying for fourth in the US PGA, to go with his tied seventh at Augusta.

With another win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open under his belt in February, the Japanese sits fourth in the world rankings.

It is surely just a matter of time before his first major triumph – and his each way price of 25/1 with 188BET looks like a great bet.

Another player that could go the distance this weekend is Louis Oosthuizen.

The South African lost out in a play-off to Bubba Watson in 2012, when he showed he has the big driving game needed to tame Augusta.

A past major winner, having lifted the Open Claret Jug in 2010, Oosthuizen can blow hot and cold. But at a best price of 60/1 he is a decent each-way shout.

188BET are offering money back as a free bet should your selection fail to make the weekend – decent insurance for a player like Oosthuizen, who’s missed four of eight Masters cuts.

Read more: Mickelson: I can outdo Nicklaus as oldest Masters winner

Another dark-horse is JB Holmes, who was tied for fourth here last year.

One of the biggest hitters going, I like the general 100/1 for a player that could fly under the radar.

This year sees 19 debutants teeing it up for the first time at Augusta – a course where inexperience is punished, and no newbie has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

One man who certainly doesn’t have to worry about that is Phil Mickelson, who is coming into his 25th Masters this week.

Lefty has three Green Jackets, and an incredible 14 top seven finishes to his name on a course that suits his swing perfectly.

With Coral paying each way on the top seven, Mickelson’s 33/1 could be a shrewd investment.

Pointers

Matsuyama e/w - 25/1 (188BET)

Oosthuizen e/w - 60/1 (general)

Holmes e/w - 100/1 (general)

Mickelson e/w - 33/1 (Coral)

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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