06 Apr 2017

Who can contend at a cold and windy Masters?

The opening two rounds of this year’s Masters will be cold, wet and windy, but are there any dark horses in the field who won’t shoot themselves out of it and play well in the conditions before it brightens up for the weekend? Here are three players to keep an eye on – and they all have two things in common…

 

Tyrrell Hatton: A winner on Scottish links at the Dunhill last year and a top-five finisher at The Open at Troon and the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart – Hatton obviously plays the wind well. He also posted a top-ten at the sodden US PGA Championship at Baltusrol last year and has been in superb touch in the early stages of this season. Should he prevail it would be a Willett-like victory following Hatton’s quick rise to the upper reaches of the World Rankings in the last 12 months.

tyrrell hatton masters

Branden Grace: A natural low ball flight should suit the conditions in the early stages as he can keep the ball below the tree line for minimal gust interference. Grace has won at the notoriously windy Qatar Masters twice (2015, 2016) and around St Andrews at the Dunhill Links and also finished T4 at Baltusrol.  His record at Augusta isn’t the greatest with three missed cuts in his most recent outings but he did finish T18 in 2013 when Adam Scott won in the pouring rain. Will the sun be shining on him on Sunday?

branden grace masters

Martin Kaymer: Once he gets it into his head that he can hit his natural fade shot and win at Augusta he will win a Green Jacket (as his countryman Bernhard Langer did, twice). Could this be his year? A two-time Major winner, a two-time winner in windy Scotland (including the Dunhill Links) and a top ten at last year’s damp US PGA Championship… Kaymer’s chipping is his long-standing Achilles heel.

Martin Kaymer Masters

While these three players might not be at the top of everybody’s thinking heading into the first Major of the year, their pedigree in tough conditions shouldn’t go unnoticed and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of more of them in contention heading into the weekend.

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