Three Shots At The Green: Best Bets For The Masters

Welcome to Three Shots at the Green, where each week I’ll use my experience as a PGA Tour caddie and golf writer to identify the three best bets on the board.

Well, the preliminaries are over. It’s time for the Masters. 

We’ve enjoyed designated events with elite fields, a dominant performance from the world’s best golfer, resurgent veterans and surging rookies so far in 2023 but all that fades on Sunday afternoon when a man slips on the green jacket. 

An 88-man field has arrived at Augusta National, making the famous drive down Magnolia Lane to pursue the first major championship since July. 

The course is the most familiar in golf. It’s long and difficult, requiring excellence through the bag – above average driving distance, exquisite iron play and a top shelf short game. For all the discussion about the greens at Augusta National, we’ve seen mediocre putters like Bubba Watson excel here, so we’ll pay more attention to long game than recent performance with the flat stick. 

The weather forecast is less appealing. Golfers will face temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 80s during the four tournament rounds with rain, some heavy, expected to fall during at least three of the days. Throw in a stiff wind and birdies could be scarce. 

Let’s take three shots at the green 

Gordon Sargent +150 low amateur 

The reigning NCAA champion out of Vanderbilt played practice rounds with Justin Thomas and Max Homa this week and both players raved about his power and overall skill set.

Sargent, an Alabama native, received a special invitation to this year’s Masters and he’ll outlast a relatively weak field of amateurs to earn his spot in Butler Cabin beside the champion on Sunday afternoon.  

Tony Finau +200 top-10

I have a great feeling about Finau’s chances to break through and win his first major championship this week. Finau has won three times in the last nine months and enters the tournament on an outstanding run with seven top-25s in as many starts in 2023.

Finau also has a strong track record at Augusta, ranking 11th in scoring over the last 20 rounds with a pair of top-10 finishes. His swing looked dialed in during a range session early in the week and Finau is quietly positioned to find himself in the hunt late Sunday. 

Justin Rose +170 top 20

There isn’t enormous value in this price but Rose’s current form, the possibility of nasty conditions and his strong history at Augusta National makes this an easy grab. Rose is sixth in the field in scoring in the Masters over the last 24 rounds.

He won at Pebble Beach earlier this season and followed that up with a T-6 at the PLAYERS. Rose has also gained shots on approach in six consecutive tournaments and comes into the week well rested after taking two weeks off. 

Last Week: Turned a slight profit thanks to Nick Taylor finishing with two birdies to finish T-14. Brendon Todd imploded in the last 27 holes, dropping from the top 10 to the back of the pack and Si Woo Kim played great other than a quadruple bogey-9 on a par-5. 

YTD: -9.8 units