The second round of The Masters takes place on Friday when the 90 players who eventually teed it up will be back out on the course at Augusta National either looking to build on a good start or bounce back from a difficult day to make the cut.
We already have a good looking leaderboard but despite that there are a number of big names who are battling to make the cut so there are lots of potential stories to follow throughout the course of the second round.
Round 1 Recap
At the end of the opening round there is a real 2020 look about the leaderboard. On that occasion Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith chased Dustin Johnson home and after 18 holes this year Im sets the pace on -5 with Smith a shot behind and Johnson in a rich group on three under par which includes the world number one Scottie Scheffler, Genesis winner Joaquin Niemann and former champion Danny Willett. Just 18 players went under par for the opening round and incredibly one of those was Tiger Woods who carded an amazing 71. Plenty of big names couldn’t find under par rounds and the likes of Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth will all need to keep an eye on the cut line while trying to move forward on Friday.
Thursday was a frustrating day for us betting wise. Justin Rose opened up with a birdie on two but then got nothing going while Cameron Champ led his three ball for much of the day only to bogey the last and end up tying it with Lucas Glover while Brooks Koepka led his group at the turn but then came home in 41 out of nowhere to fade away and allow Matthew Fitzpatrick to claim the honours from there. That leaves us with a bit of work to do on Friday.
There is a market for the leader at the end of the round on Friday but I’m a little reluctant to get involved in it for a few reasons. The first one is that this course is going to dry out throughout the course of the day with the winds expected to get up as the day goes on. Another reason why I don’t really want to get involved is there are plenty of big names bunched together towards the top of the leaderboard and then a third reason is that in Cameron Smith I already have the man backed who I hope will make a move on Friday. If he can avoid the mistakes of the opening hole and the closing one again on Friday conditions should really suit him. Those who aren’t on him outright could do worse than back him to lead at the end of Friday. I’ll head to the three balls for some bets though.
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Friday 3 Balls
The field go out in the same groups as they did on Friday only the order is reversed so those who went off early on Thursday will get a lie in and vice versa. It means that the final group out onto the golf course and the one getting most of the coverage will be the one featuring the world number one Scottie Scheffler, former champion Adam Scott and Tony Finau. Out just before them at 18.52 BST is the defending champion Hideki Matsuyama. He is out with Justin Thomas and the amateur James Piot. Tiger Woods goes out in the group prior to that at 18.41 BST and it is his group and the Matsuyama one where I like bets on Friday.
Tiger Woods/Louis Oosthuizen/Joaquin Niemann
Match tees off at 18.41 BST
The third to last group out onto the golf course will have the eyes of the world on it to see if Tiger Woods can do something special once again. He will go out alongside the former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and the winner of the Genesis Invitational Joaquin Niemann.
Woods was remarkable on Thursday, using all of his Augusta knowledge to card a 71 but there were signs of concern towards the end of that round. He lost three drives well to the left which is a symbol that the leg was bothering him and he couldn’t get through the swing as he would want and you would imagine the longer the week goes on the more that is going to come into play. Far be it from me to pour cold water on the Tiger story but our eyes told us that Thursday might well be as good as it gets for him. Oosthuizen was the interesting one on Thursday. He hit every fairway yet shot +4 and with everything going on with Woods he might struggle for focus. By the time these three are on the course he might need to press to make the cut too which isn’t ideal. With that in mind, I’ll take the man who came here full of confidence after winning at Riviera, a course where the skills required are similar to the ones needed here. The Chilean got a bit fortunate to hole out on 9 in the opening round but he shot -3 and looked good doing it. All parts of his game looked in fine order on Thursday and if he carries the confidence of that forward with him he can win this three ball for a second day in a row.
Hideki Matsuyama/Justin Thomas/James Piot
Match tees off at 18.52 BST
The penultimate group out onto the golf course is also likely to get plenty of coverage on Friday evening as the defending champion Hideki Matsuyama continues his title defence when he goes out alongside pre-tournament joint favourite Justin Thomas and the amateur James Piot.
These are the sort of three balls I love to bet on in this tournament because with Augusta being as tough as it is it is hard to see an amateur faring too well alongside two world class operators. That means we can get a decent price on what is effectively a two ball with the dead heat rules in play. Thomas was all over the shop on Thursday and ended up carding +4 and he has a battle on to make it into the weekend. I can’t say I’m hugely surprised by that. His putter is way too hit and miss for my liking and on Thursday his iron play went AWOL. There were concerns over the fitness of Matsuyama going into the tournament but he looked fine on Thursday and actually his even par round deserves credit given all that the defending champion has on his plate in the lead up to this event. He has a sneaky good record around this place and now that he is into the tournament he might be able to concentrate purely on the golf. With Thomas having to take risks and every putt he stands over being a pressure one when he knows he hasn’t putted well for much of the year, he might just crack and open the door to his Japanese rival.
Back J.Niemann to beat T.Woods & L.Oosthuizen for a 3/10 stake at 2.50 with Boylesports
Back H.Matsuyama to beat J.Thomas & J.Piot for a 3/10 stake at 2.40 with Boylesports
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