One of the lesser-well known names to emerge from the pack in the US Open, Matthew Wolff makes his Augusta debut after claiming a runner-up spot at Winged Foot.
After a breakout year on the PGA Tour, the 21-year-old Californian was beaten in a play-off with Austin Cook and Scotland’s Martin Laird at the Shriners Open in Las Vegas, most recently.
Surrendering a lead into the final round in New York during the last major – on debut no less – Wolff is set to stand up to the very differing test of Augusta, and will definitely be one to watch this week.
Away from the main field, both Jason Kokrak and Patrick Cantlay both have Tour wins to their name last month at the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship respectively.
Cantlay in particular, came closest to the PGA Championship last year in T3, so could the 28-year-old be a force this weekend?
Tony Finau again notched a top-10 finish in a major at Winged Foot two months ago, and though still racked with putting inconsistencies, Finau will more than likely be in the shake-up on Sunday.
Elswehere, USPGA champion Collin Morikawa has the remarkable prestige of making his debut at the Masters as a major champion, whilst 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland has enjoyed strong showings in his last two visits to Georgia.
Daniel Berger finished T15 in last season’s FedEx Cup standings and has the right game to challenge Augusta, whilst Scottie Scheffler, after missing the US Open through Covid-19, looks recharged and ready to mount an assault on the weekend.
Four other names to have won at Augusta will also throw their hat into the ring.
Three-time Master Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson will all play Augusta National again, however, it is 2018 winner Patrick Reed – looking to top the standings in the Race to Dubai also – whose form suggests the strongest contender of the former winning pack.
Hatton, Rahm lead European challenge
The European challenge for the Green Jacket looks to be one of the strongest in recent memory, despite the absence of 2018 winner Sergio Garcia due to coronavirus.
Led arguably by compatriot and world number two Jon Rahm, the Spaniard has yoyo-ed between first, second and third in the rankings during the past 12 months, with a game that suits the tall pines of Augusta.
Finishing fourth here two years ago, Rahm should like the softer conditions around Augusta this year.
In what will be his 11th Masters this week, the Northern Irishman has his chance to the complete the prized Grand Slam once more.
After claiming his last major victory at Valhalla in 2014, this will be McIlroy’s sixth attempt to win the only crown that eludes him.
Spurning a four-shot lead in 2011, the Masters has always been the one that got away for the former number one, but to even be in the mix this weekend however, must go against the tide of a poor run of form – not least in majors.
Of the other Europeans to keep an eye on, Matthew Fitzpatrick, like Hatton, has began to spread his wings on the PGA Tour this year, and could make a fast start on Thursday.
Tommy Fleetwood remains in the top 20 despite an uncertain 2020, but retains the game to challenge for a top 10 finish at the very least, whilst Ireland’s Shane Lowry still holds the Claret Jug after the Open was cancelled this year and similarly, will fancy his chances of being in the mix for the weekend.
Finally, Danny Willett from nowhere managed a stunning win four years ago, and the 2016 winner can draw upon his victory for a run at an unlikely second major once more.
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