Masters Picks 2014: Predictions for This Year's Top Favorites and Sleepers

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Masters Picks 2014: Predictions for This Year's Top Favorites and Sleepers
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The field for the 2014 Masters is set, and it consists of 90 professionals and six amateurs. The 78th Masters figures to bring high levels of drama and intensity as each athlete vies for the coveted green jacket.

Each year, Augusta National is jam-packed with a star-studded field, and this year will be no different.

What makes 2014 so special is the fact that there are no clear-cut favorites. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson generally get the nod as favorites by default, but with Woods missing this year's competition and Mickelson suffering from a strained oblique, it's anyone's game.

Let's take a look at a handful of favorites and sleepers and predict how each will fare after 72 holes at Augusta National.

 

Favorites

Adam Scott

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We certainly can't have a list of favorites without including the defending champion. Scott won the Masters last year on a rainy Sunday when he recorded a birdie on the second playoff hole against Angel Cabrera.

He made a great surge on the final nine holes of regulation to get into the playoff, and that surge certainly remains in the back of his mind. He will have plenty of momentum entering the tournament and should do well. It is difficult to win the title in consecutive seasons, however.

Prediction: top-five finish

 

Rory McIlroy

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Although McIlroy has never finished better than 15th at Augusta, this could be his year he gets over the hump.

He's played well in 2014 so far, recording four top-10 finishes and two second-place finishes. His surge in the last round of the Shell Houston Open bodes well for him entering the Masters. He really seemed to get it together and could carry his hot streak to Augusta.

Prediction: top-10 finish

 

Lee Westwood

Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Is this the year Westwood finally gets his first Masters win?

Westwood may be the world's No. 37, but he plays like a top-10 golfer during majors—especially the Masters.

His track record at Augusta is impeccable. Westwood finished tied for eighth last year and has recorded three top-10 finishes in the last four years. His best finish came in 2010, when he finished in second place to Phil Mickelson.

Westwood hasn't been particularly solid so far in 2014, failing to record a top-10 finish in each of his eight tournaments; however, if he is to rise from the ashes, it will be at Augusta.

Call it a gut feeling, but this is the year Westwood finally takes home a green jacket.

Prediction: winner

 

Sleepers

Sergio Garcia

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People seem to be sleeping on Garcia this year, and they shouldn't be.

Garcia has played well at Augusta in the past. He held the lead after 18 holes last year and went on to finish tied for eighth. He has three top-10 finishes at the Masters, with his best coming in 2004, when he wound up in fourth place.

Garcia's had a tremendous 2014 season so far. He won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and just recorded a third-place finish at the Shell Houston Open after a stellar final round.

Expect to see Garcia in the mix on Sunday.

Prediction: top-five finish

 

Jason Day

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Despite his No. 4 world ranking, Day comes in as a bit of a dark horse. 

He hasn't played in a month, due to an injured thumb, but he will look to rebound in a big way at Augusta.

In three events played this year, Day recorded a second-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open and won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. His best Masters finish came in 2011, when he finished in second place to Charl Schwartzel.

Day was playing some great golf before his injury and should be expected to pick up right where he left off.

Prediction: top-10 finish

 

Jim Furyk

Marianna Massey/Getty Images

As we all know, navigating Augusta National can be a daunting task. Who better to get through the treacherous course than one of the most accurate ball-strikers ever?

Furyk had a stellar 2013 campaign despite being unable to record a victory. Still, he finished second at the PGA Championship and recorded two third-place finishes and five more top-10 finishes.

He has finished fourth at Augusta twice (1998, 2003) and is coming off a top-10 finish at the Valero Texas Open. Furyk looks poised to make a splash this year.

Prediction: top-10 finish

 

All Masters tournament history courtesy of Masters.com.

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