The Masters is around the corner, and with spring is in the air, we are set to be dazzled by the leading lights of the game.
Augusta provides an idyllic setting, so expect plenty of drama as the Masters is arguably one of the sternest examinations in golf, let alone on the PGA Tour.
The course can spit and chew you up if you aren’t careful, and Amen Corner is laden with danger.
While The Masters honours board boasts many iconic winners, there have also been a few surprise champions over the years, including Danny Willett, who claimed the Green Jacket in 2016.
Anyway, Freebets has been scouring the markets and picked out a few options if you are looking for a first-time Masters champion, and perhaps even a first-time Major winner to get behind.
We have probably been a bit guilty over the past few months of over backing Viktor Hovland, but the Norwegian – who is currently third in the world rankings – has enjoyed a meteoric rise. He has found himself regularly in contention, and he seems to be a Major winner in the waiting.
Perhaps one area of his game that he needs to improve in is his putting, but he is very accurate off the tee, and he has this calmness about him, which is a new trait displayed among the younger members of the PGA Tour.
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he finished T2 and he was T4 at the Genesis Invitational, and The Masters will be the litmus test for him. Currently, he is a short looking 8/1 with Paddy Power to slip into the Green Jacket, and that seems like a fair price to get behind if you fancy a cheeky punt.
The mercurial Spaniard has been rather subdued by his high standards. There have been glimpses of what he is capable of, such as at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but if he can keep his emotions in check, then he will be in the mix.
Rahm – who is the reigning US Open champion – is currently trading as the favourite with William Hill at 6/1. Of course, Rahm will need to get off to a good start, and he can be a good frontrunner. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on.
This may seem a little left field, but Cameron Smith will certainly be one to keep a close eye on at Augusta. After lifting the Players Championship (the unofficial fifth Major), Smith has been a delight to watch this season, and he has already picked up two PGA Tour titles in the space of a few months.
The Australian has all the tools needed to do well at Augusta, and while it may seem surprising that he is trading at the 14s mark with Unibet, he could well justify that price. And what a first-time winner he would be if he did pull off success in Georgia.
We couldn’t have curated this list without at least including Rory McIlroy. Yes, the Ulsterman has had his fair share of disappointments and heartaches in Augusta, and part of that has been due to the burden of expectation which has weighed heavily on his shoulders.
He has made some tweaks to his swing, and if he can avoid reading any media speculation about his chances, then maybe, and whisper it quietly, but McIlroy CAN win the Masters!
It would be great to see a British success story, as Willett already feels like a long time ago. If you are happy to throw a bit of caution to the wind, and back McIlroy, then you can get 14/1 with Paddy Power for him to land his first Green Jacket and complete the final leg of Career Slam that has eluded him for so long.