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Spieth leads the way after Day one

Augusta National is living up to expectation.

Gareth McGrattan

As the galleries started filling up, the countdown was drawing ever closer. Hours become minutes, minutes become seconds. It’s Masters week at Augusta National. It doesn’t get much better than this. For the spectators lucky enough to get tickets, from the millions watching around the world, it was time, the 82nd Masters tournament had begun.

As fans, we were treated to a spectacular days action. It had it all, great shots, plenty of birdies and even a certain someone hitting a 13 on a par 5. Not naming names but he is the defending champion.

There are few players in the game who feel at home in one of the most iconic golf courses in history. But for Jordan Spieth, it is clear he does. Year after year he brings his best game to the Georgian golf course. He seemed to find his form just in time for this year’s tournament too, coming off the back of two top 10 finishes.

The American came onto the first tee to a thunderous applause, did the occasion get to him? Certainly not. Carding 8 birdies on his way to a 6 under round, he is leading the trailing field by two shots.

It’s no surprise to see Rory McIlroy near the top the leaderboard either, he currently sits just three shots off the lead.

One of the tournament favorites Tiger Woods made a solid start to his major comeback, no fireworks but steady. It is good to see one of best golfers in the planet, back enjoying his game. I have no doubt he will have a good second day and put pressure on the leaderboard.

At this early stage, you can’t win the tournament but you can certainly lose it. Just as reigning Masters Champion Sergio Garcia proved.

The Spaniard had an absolute nightmare on the par 5, 15th. Finally escaping with a total of 13 shots. No excuse for that score at the top level but it shows that everyone is human. The strange thing is, he managed to get a birdie on the next hole at the par 3, 16th. Hitting the ball in the water in 5 consecutive shots, it’s an indication of how difficult the course is.

So how does the betting look at the moment?

It’s no surprise that 1st round leader Spieth is bookmakers favourite with Fansbet having him at 2/1 and if he plays even half as good as today for the rest of the week, the field won’t get near him. At a cool 5/1 McIlroy has a great chance and the current three-shot swing can be easily undone. The Holywood man is desperately seeking this major to become a member of the infamous Grand Slam club.

I would certainly be placing my money on Rory. With the strength and depth of his game at present and his red-hot putter, if anyone can go toe-to-toe with Jordan Spieth, the Northern Irish man can.

Tiger Woods although seven shots of the pace, still has a good chance. A couple of low rounds could see him right back in the mix. Priced at 40/1 and with Fansbet paying four places at 1/4 odds, he is no doubt a solid E/W option. Having such an illustrious career, major glory this week may just be his favourite victory to date.

Tony Finau is another man in with a chance of major glory, currently in a tie for second after shooting 4 under. It is quite astonishing really after his exploits during the par 3 competition. After getting a hole in one, Finau proceeded to run down the tee box to the huge applause from the Augusta National faithful.

Unfortunately, his elation was short lived as he injured his ankle in the process. It was an extraordinary achievement to even play the first round never mind be tied for second after day one. You can back the American at 33/1.

As fans, these stories make the masters so special. I for one can’t wait to see what other magic unfolds from the Augusta this year.

The Masters is here and living up to it’s name.

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*all odds are subject to change

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