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The Masters - Golf: Long shots have serious Augusta chances

The field that will tee off at Augusta National for the Masters, which starts on Thursday 7th April, looks the most competitive for years, with 12 players priced at 20/1 or shorter two weeks before the tournament in Georgia.

And that does not even include defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, who became Japan's first Major winner 12 months ago, but there are others among the top dozen who are capable of getting their hands on the coveted Green Jacket.

So here are five who are priced bigger than 20/1 who could make a big impression.

Will Zalatoris - 33/1

Will Zalatoris was the nearest challenger to Matsuyama in last year's renewal and the fact it was his first spin at Augusta National has to be a huge reason for optimism that he could go one better.

The 25-year-old from San Francisco is a supreme ball-striker and he could be in for a massive week if he can find his touch on the greens.

It is only a couple of years since he graduated from the subsidiary Korn Ferry Tour, but he has already come close to claiming his first PGA Tour triumph at the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January.

His putting let him down on that occasion as he saw his lead slip before losing in a play-off to Luke List, but he should have grown mentally from that experience and he reached the quarter-finals of the WGC Match Play before he lost to runner-up Kevin Kisner.

His game seems in a good place and he could put in another strong Masters show.

Last Five Masters winners

YearNameFinishing score
2021Hideki Matsuyama-10
2020Dustin Johnson-20
2019Tiger Woods-13
2018Patrick Reed-15
2017Sergio Garcia-9

Sungjae Im - 50/1

Zalatoris's performance came six months after South Korea's Sungjae Im also finished second on his first Augusta appearance.

Im missed the cut six months later, but he could be a force to be reckoned with this time, having won the Shriners Children's Open before Christmas and was tied for sixth at the Farmers.

The 23-year-old looks set for a bright future and he possesses the strong tee-to-green game that can be a recipe for success at Augusta, while he is capable of performing well on the greens too.

Do not be surprised if this great prospect rises to the occasion once more.

Paul Casey - 55/1

Paul Casey's Augusta preparations have hit a snag as he was able to play just two holes at the WGC Match Play after suffering with back spasms.

However, the Englishman still has the pedigree to be a force at the year's first Major if he can get the better of his fitness battle.

Casey would have been confident of a strong performance at Austin Country Club after he finished third at the Players Championship behind Cameron Smith and Anirban Lahiri just a fortnight before.

There is a lot to like about Casey's Augusta record too. He finished in the top-ten in three consecutive Masters between 2015 and 2017 and also went close on two other occasions.

This is a track where the Surrey Slugger tends to flourish so it would be foolish to write him off as he looks to finally get his hands on that first Major.

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Shane Lowry - 55/1

Shane Lowry's 21st place last year was his best finish in six visits to Augusta, but his form this year suggests the former Open champion is capable of doing a lot better this time.

Lowry had a hole in one on the 16th in 2016 - he also aced the 17th at Sawgrass two weeks ago - so there are happy memories to draw on and his confidence should be high.

He fell out of the WGC Match Play at the group stage last week, but he was in the top 20 in six of his previous seven tournaments, with the other performance being a 24th spot at the Dubai Desert Classic.

His best showing in that run was his second to Sepp Straka at the Honda Classic last month, but he is capable of going one better here, especially after winning his only Major by a six-shot margin at Royal Portrush in 2019.

Seamus Power - 100/1

Fuzzy Zoeller was the last debutant to win the Green Jacket in 1979, but Zalatoris, Im and Jordan Spieth have all come close to replicating that feat in the last ten years and Ireland's Seamus Power could go one better.

Power has stormed up the world rankings since he was 463rd this time last year and he has not looked back since winning the Barbasol Championship in July.

He has posted seven top-15 on the PGA Tour since that success and will have taken confidence from reaching the last eight of the WGC Match Play that he can make his presence felt among the game's top players.

The 35-year-old, who hails from County Waterford but lives in Las Vegas, has been in the mix for plenty of tournaments in the last 12 months and is generously priced to snare a big one.

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