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US Masters golf trading strategy


The US Masters is unique to the other three golf Majors in that it is held at the same venue every year, thus offering a distinct advantage over the other three events in providing useful historical data and analysis to provide you with some informative trading strategies.

Primarily, whereas The Open, the US Open and the US PGA have field sizes of 156 players, The Masters is limited to between 90 and 100 players every year.

Added to this is the fact that it’s the only Major that is an invitation-only event. The top 50 players in the world get an automatic invite as well as past champions who have a lifetime invite to play in the event. The field will also include the top five amateurs from different jurisdictions.

As a starting point for trading purposes, this makes for an advantageous scenario. The amateurs can easily be discounted, and age does seem to be a barrier to success at Augusta National. There has been no winner over the age of 40 in the last 20 years. Last year 20 of the 93 players – not including the aforementioned amateurs - were aged over 40, many of whom were former champions no longer able to compete with the new generation.

Despite this, the favourite will still often go off around the 9.0 or 10.0 mark as is the norm for the larger-field Majors.

Augusta National course details

At 7,435 yards, it is a long par-72 course, with notoriously fast greens that are a test for anyone.

Probably one of the most important factors for a player to set himself up for a chance to win the Masters is to get off to a fast start.

Augusta National is not a course where players can easily make up a lot of ground. Outside of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who share seven Masters titles between them, only Mark O’Meara has won from outside the top 10 after the first day in the last 20 years. Incidentally, he was five shots behind. Even with 54 holes to play, if a player is not within about four shots of the lead then it is a mighty task to make up the ground.

Characteristics needed to perform well

It is often repeated every year but can’t be emphasised enough, no player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 has won the US Masters on their debut.

Experience of this tough and demanding course is essential to coping with the huge pressure it places on a player’s mental ability to withstand the errors that will occur.

Every winner stretching back to Zoeller’s famous debut win in 1979 – Tiger Woods excepted in 1996 – have made the cut the previous year, backing up the theory that as much course form as possible is essential.

Historically, length off the tee has been a far more crucial factor to consider than driving accuracy, as well as greens in regulation. Last year Sergio Garcia ranked 6th and 2nd respectively in those departments. And of course, putting is key as even the best in the business can struggle on the extremely fast and tricky greens. Using putts per greens in regulation is a more robust way of measuring a player’s overall performance in this regard as it eliminates chipping and one-putting from off the green. Garcia ranked 1st in this category last year.

Draw and form

Garcia also became the eighth winner in a row to be drawn in the afternoon on the first day and increasingly good current form also seems to be a prerequisite to success, with five of the last seven champions having won earlier in the season and the others achieving one or more top 3 finishes in recent events.

Holes to be aware of for in-play trading

Amen Corner: Holes 11, 12 and 13

One of the most famous and iconic spectacles in world golf, this three-hole stretch can make or a break a player’s tournament, particularly if they are involved in the thick end of the action on the final day. Jordan Spieth infamously demonstrated this in 2016 on the par-3 12th by going into the water twice for a quadruple bogey.

The start of Amen corner on the par-4 11th is no walk in the park either and has played as the toughest hole in four of the last seven years. Many a player has found the water on the left and ended up coming away with a six or worse. The target area to the right of the putting surface is very popular just to try and get an up and down for a par.

Final day trading opportunities

Even if your position on the market doesn’t look too enticing come the final round there are usually still opportunities aplenty to trade yourself back into a great position.

Since 2010 in the final round, no less than seven players have traded at odds-on on the back nine before going on to lose the tournament, including world-class players such as Rory McIlroy and Spieth.

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