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Rupert Wyman 4th Apr 2012 - 7:30

Bo Van Punt your way through the Masters

The Masters commences on Thursday, it is the first Major of the year and the defending champion is the South African Charl Schwartzel (45/1). Since 1949, the winner has been awarded a green jacket, it has to be returned to the clubhouse after a year.

Of all the Major Championships, the Masters has the smallest field, at around ninety players.  The top fifty players in the world are all invited. For Tiger, the event could not have started at a better time.

He arrives at Augusta as the defending champion of the Bay Hill Invitational. His victory in Florida signalled a return to form, his putting was superb and he oozed confidence. I would not discourage anybody backing him at 5/1 but he is still not the Tiger of old.  He even stated after the win, that there is a lot of work to be done on his game.

Mcllroy is a massive price at 9/1, this is a player that had a four-shot lead going into the final round last year, only to finish ten shots behind the South African Schwartzel. He lost to Mahon in the Match-Play Championship earlier this year and although he is already a Major winner, he will be desperate to make amends at Augusta.

Schwartzel  has his Champions Dinner on Tuesday night and there will be a big South African BBQ. Last year he finished in style, he secured four birdies over his final four holes to take home his first major Championship. I was critical of him earlier this year, when he failed to make the cut in his own event, the Joburg Open in SA but he has started to find some form at the right time.

He is a course winner but whether he can play to the same level this year is debatable.  He finished fourth recently at the Cadillac Championship and it would be no surprise to see him atop of the scoreboard at some point during the event.

Johnson Wagner is one of the in-form American golfer s on the PGA Tour and he looks a big each-way price at 150/1. He is not a household name but he has posted five top-15 finishes this year.  The 2008 Shell Houston Open winner has been playing plenty of golf and he hit a sixty-eight in his opening round at the weekend.

Another player to watch is Bo Van Pelt, in seven events he has four top-10 finishes.  He is scoring very well, he may be the 23rd biggest driver on the PGA Tour but his driving accuracy is still inside the top-70. He finished tied for eight at the tournament last year and his form coming into the event was poor.  He looks a decent each-way bet at 70/1.

Adam Scott is 5/2 to miss the cut and he has only played nine competitive rounds this year, he missed the opening two tournaments in Hawaii because he had his tonsils taken out. He went close at Augusta in what was a stellar year for him last year but whether he has had enough practice for the Masters is debatable.



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