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US Masters monotony under threat as rookies and seniors close in

| 13.04.2014

The Masters is a golf tournament of tradition. The coveted green jacket, the ceremonial opening tee shot and the unwavering support of former champions are just three of a number of ingredients that make the tournament the best in the world.

Away from the off-course conventions, there is a ritual to the results of the tournament too. Rookies rarely fare well, seniors flirt with the leaderboard’s summit only for their ageing legs to fail them in the final straight and guys who have been there and done it in the recent past prevail.

But ahead of the final round of the 2014 competition, all of those certainties are being threatened.

2012 champ, Bubba Watson, had enjoyed a bit of breathing space at the top of the leaderboard heading into day three, only to find the quickening greens a problem in his two-over-par third round that allowed the field to swallow his advantage.

With Watson, who is a 5/2 shot to win a second Masters, struggling, a rookie took advantage. Jordan Spieth was a 50/1 chance before the tournament began but will play in the final group as a 7/2 betting option thanks to a two-under round that puts him level with Watson at -5.

Spieth isn’t the only rookie flying the flag, Swede Jonas Blixt is a shot further back and available at 10/1 thanks to a third-round 71, while American Matt Kuchar, also on -4, is the 3/1 second favourite to capture his first major.

There’s two men doing the old guard proud, with the hugely popular 20/1 shot Miguel Angel Jimenez two shots off the pace thanks to a blistering -6 on moving day.

The Spaniard’s low round threatened Fred Couples’ monopoly as the best senior at Augusta, but the American still has time to reclaim supremacy, although will need a Jimenez-like round to come back into the reckoning at -1.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.