The Masters: Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy worth backing at Augusta National

Only five months since the last Masters Tournament and the world’s best golfers are back at Augusta National, with Sporting Life betting expert Ben Coley providing his selections this week…

Back in its traditional spring slot, The Masters looks set to be a serious test this week and it’s one Justin Thomas is well equipped to pass.

With progressive form figures, improving with every visit from his 2016 debut and hitting the frame last November, Thomas has always looked comfortable here and his quality approach play could make the difference.

Only the best ball-strikers survive this test, particularly when it’s firm and fast, and Thomas is one of the sport’s premier iron players.

Winning The Players two starts ago allowed him to draw a line under a complicated start to the year and also represented his standout performance since winning the 2017 US PGA.

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That event is the strongest form line we have, and Thomas won it in dominant fashion, despite a quiet week on the greens and a less-than-ideal preparation.

Back at Augusta and brimming with confidence, his all-round game, which includes a magic touch around the greens, can land him a first green jacket.

Although firm greens might be against Rory McIlroy, he’s a big enough price to chance given the 10 or 11 places you’ll get on each-way bets.

  • McIlroy’s last nine years at The Masters
  • Cowen: Look to the future, Rory

McIlroy has made the top 10 in six of his last seven Augusta starts, including in November despite a first-round 75, and he’s entitled to find a level of comfort here which has been missing.

“Put another way, he’s really not been far off and the link-up with Pete Cowen could pay off in dramatic fashion over the coming days.”

Ben Coley on Rory McIlroy

While it’s been a stop-start to the year, he did contend in Abu Dhabi and finish sixth in the WGC-Workday, and has been inside the top 25 on nine of his last 11 stroke play starts.

Put another way, he’s really not been far off and the link-up with Pete Cowen could pay off in dramatic fashion over the coming days.

One of the players who has no such questions to answer as regards his recent play is Paul Casey and he looks good each-way value at a course which rewards his elite ball-striking.

A winner in the Dubai Desert Classic, he could follow the path laid by Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett, who both took this title having kicked off the year in style out in the Middle East.

At bigger odds, Jason Day‘s high ball-flight and brilliant short-game could see him hit the frame, and Si-Woo Kim is capable of the field-leading approach play which so often points us to the winner.

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