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The 2023 Masters got underway on Thursday in what was a fantastic day of golfing action. The two pre-tournament favourites, Scottie Scheffler and Rory Mcilroy, both experienced different performances on day one with Scheffler starting with 68 and Mcilroy starting with 72.
While Scheffler is still being priced as one of the favourites after a strong start, Mcilroy has seen his odds widen. With the tournament set to continue this afternoon, the likelihood of a surprise winner looms larger than it did prior to the tournament with a number of outsiders, such as Viktor Hovland and Brooks Koepka, enjoying blistering starts.
Let’s take a look at who the bookmakers are backing to win the tournament after the first 18 holes.
Masters Golf Favourites 2023
Jon Rahm – 3/1 (4.00)
Jon Rahm’s Masters campaign got off to the worst possible start when he double-bogeyed the opening hole on Thursday. However, like the champion he is, the Spaniard responded emphatically and went nine under-par over the next 17 holes to finish his round with a score of 65. It was the lowest score anyone has ever produced at the Masters after starting with a double bogey.
The Spaniard started 2023 in sensational fashion and had three tournament victories to his name by the end of February. Illness and a slight dip in form in March slowed him down somewhat but his performance on Thursday showed everyone that March was merely a blip.
The world number three has always enjoyed playing at Augusta National and after his red-hot start, it’s easy to see why he is now the in-play favourite to win the green jacket on Sunday.
Scottie Scheffler – 5/1 (6.00)
Scottie Scheffler was the narrow favourite heading into Augusta National and he has started his quest for back-to-back green jackets strongly. A score of 68 is actually one shot better than his opening effort last year when he won the tournament which is an ominous sign for the rest of the field.
Scheffler is the number one ranked player in the world and also the most in-form player in the world. He has won two of the biggest tournaments of the year already, the Phoenix Open in February and the Players Championship in March.
On day two, he gets underway at 3pm (UK time) and he will be looking to stamp his authority on the tournament before the wet weather arrives this weekend.
Brooks Koepka – 7/1 (8.00)
It seems incredible that Brooks Koepka has never donned the famous green jacket at the Masters, especially when you consider how well he played at the majors during the back end of the 2010s. Between 2017 and 2019, the 32-year-old won four majors in two years and narrowly missed out on a fifth when he finished second at the Masters in 2019.
Since the pandemic, Koepka has been battling injuries and a confidence crisis. Last year, he made the decision to join the LIV Golf Series in what was effectively a fresh start for the American and it seems to be paying off for him. Last week, he won his second LIV event when he finished first in Orlando and he has carried that form into the Masters.
On day one, he was back to his blistering best and shot a formidable score of 65 to take a share of the lead alongside Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm. A Brooks Koepka in this kind of form is going to be a problem for the rest of the field over the weekend.
Viktor Hovland – 10/1 (11.00)
Back in 2019, Viktor Hovland won the prize for being the highest-placed amateur at the Masters. Unfortunately for him, that achievement was completely overshadowed by the fact that Tiger Woods won the tournament, ending his eleven-year wait for a 15th major championship.
The Norweigan was the early front-runner on Thursday and was the first man to be back in the clubhouse with a score of -7. He was later joined by Rahm and Koepka but he looked every inch a potential Masters champion throughout his opening 18 holes. It will be tough to keep that level up as the pressure grows, but if he can, then he could become Norway’s first major golf champion.
Jason Day – 12/1 (13.00)
Jason Day is another player who seems like he has won the Masters at some point due to how well he has played around Augusta National over the years. The Australian came closest to winning the green jacket back in 2011 when he finished in 2nd place and has since gone on to become a major champion at the PGA Championship in 2015.
The 35-year-old went under the radar slightly on day one of the Masters but still managed to post a fantastic round of 67, to leave him two shots off the leaders.
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