20:10 – April 7, 2022

With Augusta softened by rain, and with little wind very early on, I thought the scoring might be a bit better than it was in the early part of the morning at the US Masters but as some of the stronger players made the turn, the odd birdie started to drop and at the time of writing, there are 22 players under-par, four players tied for second on three-under par and Cameron Smith has just hit the front on on four-under.

The story coming into the week was undoubtedly the return of Tiger Woods and he started brilliantly. The five-time winner very nearly birdied the ultra-tough par four fifth (the hardest hole on the course in each of the last three years) before producing this sensational tee-shot at the par three sixth.

Matched at 200.0199/1 back in February and backed into 80.079/1 before the off, Woods’ price dipped to a low of 30.029/1 before a scruffy bogey at the par five eighth. He parred every hole after that before birdying the par five 13th and it’s been a very professional start.

Those that had backed Cam Smith into 20.019/1 before the off (from a high of 75.074/1 in August) would have been cursing when the Players champion double-bogeyed the opening hole but he’s recovered brilliantly since and having been matched at 44.043/1 after the early hiccup, he’s now hit the front and been matched at a low of 6.86/1.

World number one, Scottie Scheffler, who was matched at a high of 250.0249/1, went off at around 21.020/1 and he’s started very nicely two, birdying eight, nine and 12 and parring every other hole. He’s been matched at a low of 9.08/1.

Courtesy of this holed out approach on the par five ninth, the first man to get to three-under-par, was Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who would have been on plenty of shortlists after his victory at Riviera in February. As highlighted in the preview, the record of Riviera winners at Augusta is superb and he too has started nicely.

The afternoon starters are all off and running so I’m going to settle in and enjoy the evening coverage and I’ll be back in the morning with a good look a the first round leaderboard.

Pre-Event Selections:
Dustin Johnson @ 19.5
Jordan Spieth @ 24.023/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
2 pts Patrick Reed @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Patrick Reed Top 10 Finish @ 9.28/1
Back 2 u Justin Rose @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Justin Rose Top 10 Finish @ 9.28/1
Back 2 u Bubba Watson @ 140.0139/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Bubba Watson Top 10 Finish @ 9.28/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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