US Masters: Three fancies for First Round Leader at Augusta


US TOUR specialist Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) shares his views on the First Round Leader market at the US Masters.

US Masters First Round Leader | 6th-9th April 2017 | Sky Sports

I have to admit to never having such a keen eye on the weather in ‘Trump Country'.

What happens in the skies over Georgia will have as much of an effect on the outcome as anything that comes to pass on that beautifully manicured piece of land.

This week has seen the cancellation of practice and even an evacuation of the course after a tornado warning and Wednesday night’s Par-3 contest may not take place. What is of most interest is overhead conditions on Thursday and Friday.

What we get particularly on Thursday could have a huge effect on the tournament. Or maybe not.

Thursday forecast

We are all a little in the dark as various forecasts are giving different views; a rain softened course is now a given. What concerns everyone is the wind speed.

The general consensus seems to be 20mph for the early starters with gusts of between 25mph and 30mph. For the afternoon groups, 25mph winds with gusts of between 35mph and 45mph – that difference could take half the field out on day one.

My main picks all start late in the day. Dustin Johnson starts in the very last group.

This makes things tricky for a number of reasons. If wind speeds are too high, with some very exposed greens, there is a possibility of play being suspended.

If that were to happen, the late starters would come back on Friday morning and all of a sudden with much better weather, they will be in the driving seat.

First Round Leaders

We are all working in the dark a little to be brutally honest. I am of the opinion that when it comes to things like First Round Leader, the early starters are the safer play.

I am going to restrict myself to those for that reason but secretly hope play is suspended and DJ comes back Friday morning and leads wire to wire and lands the 40/1 special on offer from Coral. I couldn’t resist but that was before the draw…

Daniel Berger (66/1 each-way Bet365)

A player who was on my final list to win a green jacket is Daniel Berger. My esteemed colleague Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) chose him and a fine choice he was.

Berger was 10th on debut, has a lovely tee time and at 66/1 with Bet365 has a few of the Ross dollars on his back.

Russell Henley (66/1 each-way William Hill)

Russell Henley goes off in the first group (1pm our time) and is a fairly obvious choice after his win at the Shell Houston Open on a course that played very similarly to what he will face here.

William Hill go 66/1 about him and he is also weighed down by my cash.

Jhonattan Vegas (100/1 each-way William Hill)

Finally, Jonny Vegas. Not THAT Jonny Vegas.

This one is the greatest Venezuelan golfer of all time and has a great habit of going 64/65 (rather than spoiling every television programme he appears in) in opening rounds, which would serve him very well on Thursday.

A fine putter at his best, Vegas at 100/1 rounds off my pick of the early starters.


I have been asked a lot about Hole-in-One bets.

The only one that stands out is the 13/8 offered by William Hill for someone slam-dunking it at the 16th. It’s a great price, especially on Sunday when the pin position attracts golf balls like no other on the course.

Hit it back right on Sunday afternoon and there’s a really good chance it rolls 40 feet straight in. There were two there last year.

Keep your eye on the weather. Keep your early bets small and keep an eye on in-play and my Twitter feed. I tweeted Danny Willett at 50/1 on Day 3 last year and there is always a really good opportunity somewhere over the weekend.

Best Bets

US Masters – Daniel Berger to be First Round Leader (66/1 each-way Bet365)

US Masters – Russell Henley to be First Round Leader (66/1 each-way William Hill)

US Masters – Jhonattan Vegas to be First Round Leader (100/1 each-way William Hill)

US Masters – Hole-In-One special at the 16th (13/8 William Hill)

About Author

I have been interested in betting since a stint managing a bookmakers 20 years ago. I now work in the travel industry but spend 90% of my day thinking (and talking)about sport. Rarely missing an Arsenal home game, I still find time for my 25 year obsession with the NFL and the Chicago Bears in particular. I'm still stuck in the 80's and can't find anything better to listen to than The Jam or The Smiths. I am a stats junkie where the NFL is concerned and there is no sport in the world where they matter more. My mission is to convert you all to a wonderful sport. Oh and win a few quid along the way.

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