3 lurking contenders ready to make a run after round 1

The Masters is well under way with Round 1 in the books, but if we take our attention away from the top 10, which players are poised to rocket up the leaderboard?

After the first round of The Masters it feels like we learned a lot at first, but at the same time there is a lot more that we will learn on Friday and throughout the weekend. There’s a reason golf tournaments don’t have 18 holes, they have 72 holes. So we’ll see if anyone goes after the leader, Sungjae Im, or even the runner-up, Cameron Smith.

Of course, all eyes are on Tiger Woods, who not only returned to the competition in triumph on Friday, but also went T10 in impressive fashion after round one with a 1-under on his bankroll. Will he keep charging? That would be something out of a fairy tale book or a Disney movie – but I’m not betting on that at all. (To be clear, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see it.)

However, there are a few players not in the top 10 who, looking at their performance in Round 1 on Thursday, seem destined to perform on Friday and throughout the weekend given the data that we have to make an attack.

In particular, watch out for these three players making an attack in the last three rounds after a relatively boring first round in terms of their score.

The Masters: Competitors ready to make a move after Round 1

3. Viktor Hovland (S) – T19

The good thing about the first round for Viktor Hovland was the fact that the Norwegian made five birdies on the day. The bad thing about the round is that he compensates for that work with three bogeys and a double bogey to go with the birds and end the day at Even. That included hitting the water on his approach to No. 11 and taking a penalty after his approach to No. 13 ended up in the middle of an azalea.

It was shocking to see that hitting the ball was Hovland’s problem, not the short game (he lost just under .5 strokes around the green but gained 1.24 strokes on putting). Hovland gained a meager 0.14 strokes on Thursday’s approach. On his previous laps he was only worse on approach on two of them. For me that is a positive sign. His DNA is that of a ball forward and if he comes out and shows his normal form Friday through Sunday he’ll be ready to take a big step up the rankings.

2. Rory McIlroy (+1) – T31

What we saw from Rory McIlroy on Thursday was exactly what has been worrying people for a while. He gained 2.30 strokes off the tee – 0.45 more than anyone in the field – but lost shots around the green and on putting while gaining a dismal 0.15 on the approach. Therefore, he ended at 1-over for the day.

However, if you look at McIlroy over the years, one of the keys in the majors has been that he struggles in Round 1 but turns him on for the weekend. This is especially true for Augusta. So the fact that he has his bad lap and is still only six behind the lead could actually be a positive. We know what he’s capable of with every single racquet in his bag and he knows this place well. It would be great to see him find that form and make his move in the last three rounds.

1.Tyrrell Hatton (E) – T19

If you look at the odds on WynnBet after Round 1, Tyrrell Hatton is currently sitting at a whopping +5500. And if you want to sprinkle that after Thursday, that would be a smart move based on what we’ve seen of him over his first 18 holes.

Hatton led the entire field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green in the first round, winning 1.85 from the tee, 2.71 on the approach and .61 around the green. He was absolutely dialed in until he hit the putting surface where he lost an amazing 3.35 shots.

However, the putter is the most volatile part of the game at this level. It can tip over in the blink of an eye, which is why so many handicappers and forecasters turn to the ball hit. Hatton is flushing the ball as of now and, just as importantly, has been consistently winning strokes with the putter in his 50 previous rounds coming in The Masters. He’s within striking distance of the lead and his profile says he’s now primed for a big final 54 holes that he could very well fight for.

https://fansided.com/2022/04/07/masters-contenders-make-run-after-round-1/ 3 lurking contenders ready to make a run after round 1

John Verrall

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