April 7, 2021.
Here we go, only five months after the 2020 event, it’s Masters Week, again. Like in that event we will not get a par 3 contest on Wednesday, only the third time in nearly sixty years that event was cancelled. Thankfully, with limited attendance, the weekend tournament will proceed like usual.
In this post, we want to highlight some of our favorites from this field of 88 golfers based on factors including recent form, tournament history, and some other metrics that stand out specifically at Augusta National. Early weather reports indicate that some storms can be a factor, with a chance for poor weather on the first three of four days in this event. Metrics isolating golfers who play well in such weather conditions will also be relevant and could pay off value.
Other key metrics for winning at Augusta include approach gained on approach, opportunities gained, par 5 scoring, strokes gained off the tee, 3-putt avoidance, bogey avoidance, and birdie or better percentage. Here are some of the golfers that stand out to us:
Over the weekend, we saw Jordan Spieth win his first event in nearly four year. The 2015 winner has finished top 5 three times in seven entries at this event, without ever missing a cut. Spieth has even been playing great golf lately, beyond his win at the Texas Valero Open, he has finished top 5 in four of his last six events overall. Spieth has as good of a chance to win a Green Jacket this weekend as anyone in the field.
Defending champion, Dustin Johnson, has not been putting well lately, but his course history at Augusta is nothing to ignore. Over the past 5 years, Johnson has beaten all but 18 of the 447 other golfers. With a win, Johnson would be only the fourth golfer to ever go back-to-back at The Masters.
In five entries at this event, Justin Thomas has improved every single time, finishing T39, T22, T17, T12, and 4. Now in his sixth try, Thomas is among the favorites to win his first Green Jacket. He is also in good form lately, currently ranking third on Tour in strokes gained on approach.
Although Rory McIlroy has been inconsistent lately, he usually shows up at Augusta and has finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven events. He ranks third on Tour in strokes gained off the tee. A win at this event would complete a career Grand Slam for McIlroy, but he will really need to pull things together quickly in order to achieve that this year. He’s still good enough to finish top 10, even on an off year.
Cameron Smith mat not be as much of a household name, but he has finished top 5 in two out of the last three Masters, including a tie for second last year. In the 2020 Masters, Smith set a record finishing all four rounds with a score in the 60s. He probably won’t repeat that performance, but Smith is more likely than not to have another high finish.
Adam Ancer will be back for his second Masters after finishing T13 back in November. We don’t necessarily like answer to finish that high again, but he is very much in play for another top 25 finish, which he has done in seven of his last nine events overall.