Masters Predictions 2012: Which Groups Will Be the Most Successful?
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The official Masters pairings were announced yesterday. As you can see, there are some real gems in there.
In this article I am going to take a look at the groups which I think will be the most successful at the end of the weekend in terms of finishing positions.
5th: L. Donald, F. Molinari, N. Watney
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Luke Donald is the world number one. However, he still has never won a major, a tag that will hang over him until he does.
That elusive major could be the Masters with his wonderful short game, as long as he can get his driver firing. He has had three top 10 finishes here at Augusta, and I expect a similar result this weekend.
Molinari is probably the weakest of the three players, ranked 46th in the world. He has spent the last week working on his short game in order to prepare for the Masters. His accuracy off the tee and solid iron play could be key, and I see him making it to the weekend.
Nick Watney is one of the few players I feel confident in guaranteeing will be here for the weekend. He is wonderful with the putter and has Masters experience, never failing to reach the weekend in four attempts.
I do think these three will all be here for the weekend. Molinari is likely to end up in the forties, while I think Donald will be in the low teens. I believe Nick Watney will be the star of the group, finishing in the top eight.
4th: B. Haas, J. Day, K. Stanley
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Jason Day has to be one of the favorites going into the Masters. He proved his major pedigree last year with second-place finishes in both the Masters and the US Open. Jason is bringing decent form into the Masters and will be an exciting player to keep an eye on.
2011 FedEx Cup Champion Bill Haas is a player a lot are tipping to do well. He has shown this season that he can battle with the best, beating Phil Mickelson in a playoff to win the Northern Trust Open. He is one of the best ball strikers in the game and has never failed to reach the weekend of a major.
Kyle Stanley is playing his first Masters and many people are predicting big things from the 24-year-old. Stanley is one of the biggest hitters on tour, and hits 70 percent of greens in regulation. If he can keep these stats up at Augusta, he will have a good weekend.
I think this is an intriguing group that could really do something special, or they could all be cut. However, I think its more likely that the three will have solid weeks.
I can see Day finishing in the top five. I think Haas and Stanley will be top 20—both have the potential to do better or much worse, so who knows.
3rd: G. Ogilvy, M. Kuchar, Y. Yang
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Ogilvy is another player who has never failed to make the weekend at Augusta, including his best performance last year, where he finished tied for fourth. He is one of few players with the ability to appear suddenly in a major despite not carrying good form into it.
Y.E. Yang is a player that definitely has the bottle to win here at Augusta. His most famous win came at the 2009 PGA Championship, where after 54 holes he was two shots down on Tiger Woods. He also has competed twice at Augusta, both times being inside the top 20 and his precision style suits Augusta well.
Nick Watney is another player who seems to always make cuts here. His best finish was in 2010, seventh with a last round 65. He has the game to be a contender here. A long hitter although his accuracy isn't amazing, he is a good scrambler and putter which could leave him in contention.
I do think these three all could be in the top 10. They all have a good game for Augusta and have previously finished in the top 10 before. I feel that this group will all have a good week at Augusta, with each finishing between sixth and 25th.
2nd: R. Mcllroy, B. Watson, A. Cabrera
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The obvious place to start here is Rory Mcllroy. One of the favorites heading into the tournament, Rory proved for 54 holes last year that he had the game to win the Masters. It remains to be seen whether Rory will be slightly haunted by his experience, or whether he can overcome the pain to create joy.
Angel Cabrera is another player like Ogilvy who doesn't need to be on his best form coming into a major to perform well. He has a brilliant record at the Masters with four top 10 finishes, including a win in 2009. Cabrera is brilliant under pressure and has tremendous distance, which could give him some good birdie opportunities.
Bubba Watson is one of the longest hitters on tour. If he can accurately hit fairways as well as keep his short game solid, he definitely has a shot of being in contention come Sunday afternoon. He is another who always seems to make the weekend at Augusta, but he has never been in contention, with his best finish tied for 20th.
This grouping could be a bust! Rory could relive his Masters nightmare, while Watson could stay in relative obscurity and Cabrera may stay in bad form. However, it could do quite well. Mcllroy is one of the favorites, while Cabrera is always solid here and Watson has the game to compete.
1st: H. Mahan, P. Mickelson, P. Hanson
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Mahan is one of the players I think will do really well at Augusta. He has been in the top 10 in each of his last two appearances at Augusta, and heads here in a rich vein of form. He definitely has the game to be a contender, and if he is still in it after 54 holes expect him to cause problems on the last day.
Mickelson is still a threat at Augusta. If there is one place where Lefty knows how to win, it is Augusta. He is coming in on a decent run of form, and will look to use his momentum to help him get the win. He is another player who will be one to watch if he has a chance after 54 holes.
Peter Hanson is the least-known golfer of the group and the one that I don't predict will feature heavily on the leaderboard. He is coming in to the tournament on a good run of form, though, having finished tied for fifth in the WGC Matchplay and tied for fourth in the WGC Cadillac.
I think this group has two potential winners who will be in the top five. I really have a strong feeling about Mahan. I also think Hanson can make the weekend and finish around 35th.