Masters: Will There Be New a New Name Atop the Leaderboard?

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 09: Brian Harman of the United States plays his shot from the 12th tee during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The monsters of golf had a couple of bad days at Augusta National. On Thursday and Friday, either the competition or the course — depending on whom you ask — got the best of defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson, 2017 winner Sergio Garcia, 2019 runner-up Brooks Koepka, and one of the game’s top players in recent years — Rory McIlroy. Three-time green jacket winner Phil Mickelson made the cut, but by the skin of his teeth (tied for 47th).

They won’t be celebrating on Sunday evening, that’s for certain now. But that means one of several new faces could be smiling when the Masters green jacket is awarded after Sunday’s final round.

If you like seeing new faces — underdogs, if you will — pop up at the biggest sporting moments, this Masters weekend may be right up your alley and might inspire a bet on golf. Get a load of the details for the top 20, or if you like — the players who come into the weekend under par. 

  • Only one player currently in the top 20 has ever won the Masters — Jordan Spieth in 2015.
  • Only six of the top 20 players have ever won a major tournament in the PGA Tour (Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Stewart Cink, and leader Justin Rose).
  • Two players have never won a PGA Tour event at all, though Will Zalatoris and Bernd Wiesberger are either young or predominantly play overseas. 
  • Eight of the 20 players have never had a top-20 finish at the Masters before.
  • And lastly, 11 players have never had a top-five finish at the Masters.

So what does this all translate to? Well, you might be seeing history this weekend. Could it be a first-time Masters winner wearing the green jacket (very possible), or maybe the winner is someone who has never even been close to contention (possible)? Or how about a first-time PGA Tour winner — as Zalatoris and Wiesberger are both within three shots of leader Justin Rose.

The truth is, overcoming a six-shot deficit after Friday’s cuts to come back and win at the Masters is a long shot — and the players just inside the top 20 are in that boat and know the facts. But, it’s not unprecedented. Oh, and 10 players are within three shots. 

Fasten your golf cart seat belts, folks. Check that — most don’t have them, do they?

Top Candidates To Surprise

Sure the Masters odds favor golfers who have multiple PGA Tour wins and a major championship on the resume. That’s why after two days, Justin Thomas (+500), Jordan Spieth (+400), and leader Justin Rose (+650) are atop the golf live betting lines — they’ve all won 10 or more tournaments during their careers. But this year’s Masters may have different plans.

Players (and current odds) currently in the top 20 who’ve never had a top-20 finish at The Masters:

T2. Will Zalatoris (+1200) — Never played in the Masters

T2. Brian Harman (+1400) — Tied for 44th (2018)

T6. Bernd Wiesberger (+5000) — Tied for 22nd (2015)

T6. Si Woo Kim (+2800) — Tied for 21st (2019)

T13. Collin Morikawa (+3300) — Tied for 44th (2020)

T17. Bryson DeChambeau (+2800) — Tied for 21st (2016)

T17. Matt Jones (+25000) — CUT (2014)

T17. Viktor Hovland (+5000) — Tied for 32nd (2019)

Place PGA Golf Wagers at BetMGM

Along with placing a bet on the Masters, enjoy all of the promotions for 2021, including some great ones involving golf. Check out the Bet $1 Win $100 Promotion, awarded if any golfer makes a birdie. While you’re at it, receive a Masters Tournament odds boost token for free, just for signing up. All you have to do is register at BetMGM.

Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America selections, handled FCS college football for HERO Sports, and covered the PGA’s Hudson Swafford when he was and underclassman high school in Tallahassee at the Maclay School. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.