Niall Lyons picks out the best bets from the opening day three-ball groups at Augusta.
The fossils that walk the fairways at Augusta taking up valuable space in the field rarely make the cut. Tom has only made the cut twice in the last fourteen years and should pose no threat whatsoever in this three ball. Westwood who has a lot of form around Augusta is the danger, however he is seasick, yet still docked. His last top 10 posted on the two big tours was back in May of 2015. Westwood has reached another slump in his rollercoaster career. A trip back to Augusta will certainly be welcome for Lee however you'd be hard pushed to imagine him shooting a great round on day one. Hoffman is the opposite. It is hard to see Charley not under par on day one and we can get the week off to a flyer with a double your money Del Boy special.
Instead I'd like to side with the debutant Gomez who has shown some classy grit to win two tournaments in the last year on tour. He won the Fedex St Jude last Summer before walking away with the Sony Open this January. His win in Sony might prepare him for some windy, tougher conditions that they face tomorrow afternoon. Taking everything into account these three are fairly closely matched and I certainly don't make Gomez a rank outsider of the three. With 13/5 out there and 5/2 readily available we'll happily invest.
I'd be surprised with the firmer greens in the afternoon that we see better scores than in the morning. Back in 2007 when conditions here were cold and windy Vaughn Taylor was right up there at the business end of this tournament. His positions after the first three days were 5th, 3rd and 4th. He finished a very respectable tied 10th. This year with his win at Pebble he arrives back at Augusta. His win a few weeks back is sandwiched in between six missed cuts and a withdrawal. So, to say his win was out of the blue is an understatement.
However, at 200/1 and with an early tee time tomorrow in what could well be cold conditions like 2007 I feel he is worth a small bet. Very risky considering his erratic form, but we'll keep stakes to a minimum.