Long Odds Golf Tips US Masters Special – Hot Harman is hard to ignore


We have to go all the way back to 2009 for the last triple-figure priced winner of the US Masters but when 150.0149/1 chance, Angel Cabrera, took the title 12 years ago he was the third winner in-a-row to go off at a three-figure price, following Zach Johnson in 2007 and Trevor Immelman in ’08 and there was a similar run of results a decade earlier when between 1998 and 2000, Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh all won at juicy odds.

It may have been a while since we had a huge-priced winner at Augusta but with this column, winning isn’t everything. Profits were made back in November, when the runner-up, Cameron Smith, a selection for the column at 140.0139/1, hit a low of 5.59/2 when right in contention.

With the Betfair Exchange, profits can be made with players that don’t win, provided we back them high and lay them low and if you’re new to the column, that’s its purpose. It’s obviously fantastic to back a winner at a huge price but getting them across the line isn’t essential. For more on trading and specifically laying, please see this handy guide.

As highlighted in the preview, there are all sorts of trends to help us find the winner but one significant factor is that in the 35 major championships staged since Keegan Bradley won the US PGA Championship in 2011, every winner has been inside the top-50 in the world rankings.

Here are my three outsiders for this year’s edition of the US Masters. All three are inside the world’s top-50.

Canny Conners can contend again

Canada’s Corey Conners shot 80 here in round one as an amateur back in 2015 but he bounced back brilliantly in round two to break 70.

His 69 on Friday wasn’t enough to see him make the weekend but it was an admirable fightback that demonstrated Augusta is a course that suits his neat and tidy long game.

Since that first appearance, Conners has finished 46th and 10th in the last two years and I can see the world number 43 contending even harder this time around.

Although he didn’t get out of the group stage of the WGC Dell Matchplay in his penultimate start, he’s been playing very nicely of late, finishing third and seventh on the Florida Swing, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship, and his 14th last week in Texas was a decent effort considering he was the defending champ.

Like all three of my picks here, Conners isn’t especially long off the tee and that is a negative but with Augusta reportedly running fast and firm that might not be a big issue and length off the tee isn’t necessarily as big a necessity many believe it to be.

Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose have both come very close to winning here in the last four years, having ranked 43rd and 35th for Driving Distance, the 2018 winner, Patrick Reed, isn’t known for his length off the tee, and Danny Willet only ranked 32nd for DD when he won here in 2016.

Corey Conners Augusta.jpg

Hot Harman is hard to ignore

As highlighted in the preview, hot current form is almost an essential prerequisite and there are few players hotter than the world number 50, Brain Harman, right now.

The 34-year-old left-hander putted brilliantly when finishing third at the Players Championship in his penultimate outing – ranking first for Putting Average and for Strokes Gained Putting – and he showed that to be no fluke when reaching the quarter-finals of the WGC Dell Matchplay last time out, thanks to an incredible victory against Bubba Watson in which he birdied seven holes in-a-row to go from four down to three up between holes seven and 13.

This is the Georgia native’s third US Masters appearance following a missed cut in 2015 and a 44th in 2018 so he doesn’t emphatically tick the course form box but he did break 70 in round four in ’18 and he finished second at the US Open in 2017 after two missed cuts in that major.

Left-handers have a terrific record in the US Masters and Harman’s simply playing too well to ignore at a huge price in his home state.

Back Brian Harman 2u @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

Prolific Na shouldn’t be overlooked

World number 34, Kevin Na, is a bit of an enigma. The Korean-born American has been a PGA Tour regular since 2004 but up until three years ago, he’d won just once. He’s not just a journeyman pro picking up the place money now though and since winning the Greenbrier in July 2018, he’s added three more titles, including the Sony Open in January, and he needs to be considered as one of the most prolific players on the circuit now.

Which Na is going to turn up is anyone’s guess though and although we know he can win if he gets a sniff now, he’s not in the least bit consistent. He withdrew from the Players Championship in his penultimate start with a bad back but his back may well have been aggravated by the eight he made at the notorious par three 17th on his way to a round of 81 and it’s something I’m more than happy to overlook.

Bubba Watson won the US Masters on the back of a withdrawal at the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of ‘allergies’ in 2014 and he’s another enigmatic sort that in his pomp either won or sulked.

Watson put it down to a discombobulated head from all the medicine and pollen but a sceptic may point to the 11 he made on the par five sixth on his way to shooting 83. Vastly different in stature, Na and Bubba are both jumpy, inconsistent yet utterly brilliant golfers and I’m happy to chance Na at such a big price given his Augusta record…

Since making his debut in 2010, Na has produced form figures reading MC-MC-12-59-12-55-MC-46-13 so he has a wealth of experience and Na’s 13th in November is a an incredible performance given he hit 16 of 18 greens but took 39 putts on day one!

Na’s putting is especially inconsistent but when he gets on a roll he’s brilliant so I’m happy to chance him in the hope that Dustin Johnson gets to put the famous Green Jacket on Na. That would be quite an interesting watch after their testy little confrontation at the WGC Dell Matchplay two weeks ago.

Back Kevin Na 1u @ 380.0379/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

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