Masters Picks: Our Favorite Sleepers & Longshots at Augusta
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Conners
- Looking to pepper the board with a few longshots at the Masters? Our staff breaks down their three favorites ahead of Thursday's start.
- We're targeting a bomber in Cameron Champ and a ball-striker in Corey Conners who could make some noise, plus a veteran with five top 10s at Augusta in the last decade.
There was a time, not that long ago, when longshots reigned supreme at Augusta National.
Back in 2008, Trevor Immelman won the Green Jacket as a 150/1 longshot. One year later, Angel Cabrera strolled down Magnolia Lane as the winner at 125/1. Two years later, Charl Scwartzel made it three triple-digit winners in four years.
Since Schwartzel’s victory in 2011, there have been eight Masters champions – and none have owned pre-tourney odds higher than those of Danny Willett four years ago at 50/1.
Will this year see a return of the longshot magic?
Here are our favorite sleepers at the 2020 Masters:
Corey Conners (+15000)
One of the statistics that I like to use for predictive purposes is final-round ball-striking numbers for those who are playing back-to-back weeks.
As I tweeted on Sunday, five of the top-10 in strokes gained tee-to-green at the Vivint Houston Open are making the trip to Augusta, a list which included Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari and, yes, Conners, who has established himself as one of the better iron players around. I wouldn’t recommend betting him outright — as I wrote this week, no triple-digit longshot has won the Masters since 2011 — I do like Conners for a top-20 play in his third career start here.
It might sound simple to pull a few top-20 plays out of a limited 93-man field, but the upper echelon of talent might extend to double that number these days, so we’ll be hard-pressed to find many “sleeper” plays.
A top-20 on Conners could qualify.
Jason Kokrak (+8500)
Kokrak has been playing some of the best golf of his life in recent weeks. He’s coming off his first win at the CJ Cup and he consolidated that result wih a top-20 finish at the Zozo.
Kokrak is a good driver of the ball, he ranks fifth in driving distance in this field over the last 75 rounds per FantasyLabs, but tends to struggle with the flat stick. Augusta’s fast greens often make the best putters look bad at times, so I tend not to worry as much about putting here as I do at other courses.
Cameron Champ (+8000)
All of the talk this week will be around the length and gameplan for Bryson DeChambeau to try to overpower Augusta National. And while Cam Champ doesn’t have the same pedigree as Bryson, he is still considered the longest player on TOUR. I know that no player has won their Masters debut in over 40 years, but those are records that are made to be broken over time.
There are a number of rookies in this event that have the ability to win this week and I count Champ amongst that crowd. We know he will put himself in position off the tee, but it’s his iron game that has gained 6.4 and 2.3 strokes on approach in his last two events that has me excited.
He was in contention down the stretch of the PGA Championship, showing his game was ready for the big stage and he’ll be able to lean on that experience this week in Augusta.
Lee Westwood (+10000)
Westwood has shown he can still compete at Augusta even though he is very much in the twilight of his career. He has four top-10 finishes in his past six starts at The Masters and has been playing good golf worldwide of late.
Westwood has finished in the top-30 in each of his past seven starts prior to last week’s missed cut in Houston. He can also still stripe it off of the tee, ranking 13th in the category in this star-studded field.
While I don’t anticipate the 48-year-old winning this week, I do think he could get himself into contention and pay off on a top-10 or top-20 bet.