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P.J. Murray 6th Apr 2011 - 15:23

Elementary my dear Watson

With the world number five and six heading the betting this year's Masters is shaping up to be one of the most open competitions in years.

Everyone has an opinion on who will receive the prestigious Green Jacket on Sunday, Mickelson, Westwood and even Ryo Ishikawa have all been touted as potential winners. Since his win at the Shell Houston Open, the price on Phil Mickelson has collapsed. 'Lefty' is the current Masters champion having seen off the challenge of Lee Westwood last year. At 13/2 he is the clear market leader, but if you feel you have missed the boat, then you can take advantage of our win only enhanced price of 7/1.

If Mickelson were to complete a second successive Masters win it would make him only the fourth player in the history of the tournament to do this, Tiger Woods' victories in 01 and 02 were the last back to back wins.

Despite currently holding five of the top six world ranking spots Europe have not tasted a Masters win since Jose Maria Olazabel took the lead in the second round and remained there for the rest of the tournament back in 1999.

The hopes of a European victory rest firmly on the shoulders of Lee Westwood who came agonisingly close when he finished runner up here last year. At 14/1 Westwood is third favourite for the title and his experience will certainly be a factor.

He managed to card a score last year that from 2001-2009 would have been good enough to win him the tournament, something which will certainly play on his mind.

Augusta is a notoriously difficult course and ever evolving. It is no place for a novice so can the Scotsman Martin Laird figure in the final shake up. The Glaswegian is 66/1 for the tournament outright, but at 5/1 he is favourite to be the top first time invitee. Recently winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational he became the first European to ever claim the tournament.

Hometown hero bubba Watson might not be a favourite in the betting market, but among his peers he is considered one to watch. The South-paw has had a favourable 2011 so far. However his best finish at Augusta was 20th in 2008. At 40/1 Watson proves to be a tempting investment, especially in the each way markets.

Previous winners are always one to consider, VJ Singh and Trevor Immelman are both 80/1, Angel Cabrera is 125/1 and that man Tiger Woods is 12/1.

For the first time in a long time, despite his form, punters just aren't lumping into Tiger as once they used to. His price has drifted following very poor results but having recorded four Masters victories Eldrick certainly knows his way around the course. He has failed to post a top ten finish in four tournaments this year, but his record at Augusta is stunning. Woods muscle memory should guide him to within contention of the leaders, if not into the lead early on. But it will be the final two days where his mental strength will be tested and whether he can turn the clock back a decade to the Tiger of 2001.

We have a range of Phil and Tiger themed specials, at 7/2 you can back either Tiger or Mickelson to win the 2011 Masters.

Australians have a poor reputation around Augusta and Adam Scott is 8/15 to make the cut. But not to rule out his chances, the young Aussie has added some witchcraft to his game, changing to a broomstick-styled putter which has improved his short game no end. He is also 4/1 for top Australasia player.

As a once avid Tiger backer I would like to see the former world number one get back some of his once great form, but there is a new generation coming through and at 40/1 my money is on Bubba Watson each way.



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