Masters 2013: Golf's Top Dark-Horse Players Ready to Impress

Zachary Krueger@@ZacharyKruegerCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2013

The Masters will begin on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.
The Masters will begin on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Spring has officially sprung this year, meaning that it is time for the most anticipated event in golf. 

This Thursday, 93 hopefuls will take the field at Augusta National Golf Club with the hopes of winning a major, whether it be their first or their 15th.  Who are some of the dark horses heading into this weekend's tournament who could make a run at the coveted green jacket?

Bo Van Pelt (2012 Masters: -1, tied for 17th)

Last year at the Masters, Van Pelt spent most of the weekend at the back end of the group.  Prior to the final day of the tournament, Van Pelt shot seven over par on the course through the first three days, but a dominant fourth day at Augusta in 2012 makes Van Pelt a nice dark horse candidate heading into this year's tournament.

In last year's final round, Van Pelt shot an incredible seven-under-par 64, one stroke away from tying the course record of 63.  

Van Pelt's struggles for the first three days last season will keep him from being a favorite heading into this weekend, but if last season's performance on the final day of the tournament is any indication, than Van Pelt could be making a climb up the leaderboard this weekend at Augusta.

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Luke Donald (2012 Masters: +3, tied for 32nd)

Donald is another player who posted a nice performance on his final day of the tournament in 2012.  Like Van Pelt, Donald also struggled through the first three days of the tournament, but a strong final day could benefit him at Augusta this weekend.

Donald shot seven over par in the first three days of last year's Masters, but on the final day he shot four under par, finishing the day with 68 strokes.   

Donald will have his work cut out for him to improve on his overall performance in 2012, but he has placed in the top five twice at Augusta, making him another probable contender in 2013.

Justin Rose (2012 Masters: -4, tied for 8th)

Rose has played in seven Masters heading into 2013, making the cut in every performance.  In the last two seasons at Augusta, Rose has shot four under par on the final day, showing that he knows the course fairly well.

Rose shot par for the course for the first three days of the tournament in 2012, but finished the tournament at four under following his best performance of the weekend, posting a 68 for the final round.

Given that he is no stranger to the course, Rose will have to do more than just hang with the pack like he did in 2012.  If Rose can build on last year's final-round success, he could find himself walking away as the 2013 Masters champion.