The Forest Scout Official Masters Preview

Who will claim the green jacket this Sunday?

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John Torosian

It’s finally April, and with the warming temperatures comes the iconic Masters Tournament at Augusta National. This tournament is truly a “tradition unlike any other,” as it serves as a true make-or-break opportunity for all of golf’s rising stars.

The tour’s unofficial villain, 28-year-old Patrick Reed, earned the green jacket last year with a one stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and two over Jordan Spieth. Although Spieth and Reed haven’t done much in tournaments since then, they are still absolutely contenders for this year’s Masters.

Tee times were also recently released for the Thursdays rounds, and a few involve some particularly talented players. The 9:58 a.m. tee time includes last year’s T5 finisher and previous Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson, the young fan-favorite Tony Finau and the 2017 Masters Champion Sergio Garcia, while the 1:38 p.m. boasts experience in Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, as well as a bit of unconventionality in Bryson Dechambeau. Although Jason Day hasn’t made an appearance on the leaderboards lately, his experience at Augusta National (T2 in 2011) outweighs some of the younger guys’ talent, which is sure to have an impact regardless of his recent play.

That being said, there are a good amount of young golfers with limited Masters experience who are looking to make a run. Canadian 27-year-old Corey Conners, who won last week’s Valero Texas Open yet did not make the Masters cut back in 2015, is looking for some success this year, and 25-year-old Australian Cameron Smith is also hoping to build on his T5 finish last year. Patrick Cantlay (27-years-old, ranked 21st), on the other hand, is a younger player who historically hasn’t performed well at Augusta and is heading in seeking redemption. At least one member of this trio – Conners, Smith and/or Cantlay – is sure to at least break into the top-ten this weekend.

One thing I doubt many of the contenders are fully prepared for is the possibility of thunderstorms heading into the weekend. Heavy rain, along with dropping temperatures and wind, could potentially push tee times back, offsetting many players’ preparation. Additionally, soaked greens and muddy fairways are never ideal playing conditions.

This year’s Masters is definitely set to be another great tournament, and with Tiger Woods back in the mix, anything can happen. My overall pick for this year’s champion is Paul Casey, who is coming off a huge victory at the Valspar Championship in Florida just a few weeks ago.

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Casey grinded his way to a tie for 15th last year, and in the three years preceding, managed to finish within the top six consistently. At 41-years-old, though, Casey is definitely on the older side of this year’s field. However, he’s undoubtedly capable of fighting to secure his green jacket once and for all.






For more Masters coverage, check out my appearance on Sport Scouts this week!