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And the first round leader of the Masters will be …?

| 10.04.2014

Only punters with the most eidetic of memories will remember the winning tip on this site 12 months ago when Sergio Garcia was highlighted as the probable leader of the Masters after the first round at 50/1.

And we fully expect to be celebrating another winner after the opening 18 holes at Augusta this year, with Dustin Johnson having lots in his favour to set the pace at 25/1 in the Masters betting.

Arguably the biggest reason for this confidence is his tee time, as somewhat amazingly, in three of the last four years a first-round leader has teed off in the sixth-last threeball of the day.

Fred Couples started the trend in 2010, Lee Westwood continued it in 2012 and then Garcia was in this group 12 months ago.

Johnson is joined by fellow Masters frontrunners Jason Day and Henrik Stenson this time in the pimp slot and the American was only one shot off of the pace set by Garcia and Australia’s Marc Leishman last year.

Furthermore, in his eight starts during the current PGA Tour season, Johnson has broken 70 in his opening round on five occasions, while shooting exactly 70 on another.

Day is 20/1 to hold the first-round lead and is another prone to starting well. However, a recent thumb injury has limited his course time of late and he may need a round to ease himself into contention.

Given a European has led the Masters after 18 holes for the last three years, this is a big fillip to Stenson’s prospects at 33/1.

But the Swede has started with 73 or worse in three of his five PGA Tour starts this season, so is swerved for this reason.

Two other players worthy of a mention are the aforementioned Westwood (40/1) and South Korea’s YE Yang (150/1).

Westwood has been in the top three on the Masters leaderboard after round one in two of the last four years and he begins in the final threeball this time, alongside Harris English and Russell Henley.

Alvaro Quiros took a share of the clubhouse lead from this group in 2011 and then Peter Hanson was second after the first round the following year.

A tee time players certainly don’t want if hoping to take the early Masters lead is one in the first eight groups, which have not provided a single player in the top three of the opening round in the last eight years.

This is bad news for the likes of Martin Kaymer and Tom Watson, but especially Yang, who is another with a proven track record for a flying start at Augusta.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.