By Steven Clark

PREDICTING the winner from a three-ball matchup can be one of the trickier bets to successfully navigate in golf.

I don’t see any real value in going with someone shorter than 1-1 when they have two people up against them so on that note I’ll be looking towards those at 1-1 or better from the 32 matches going off on Thursday.

First under the microscope is the line-up of Brendan Steele, Tim Clark and Craig Stadler. Steele’s star is burning brightly after a win in his rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2011.

Clark is still struggling to find his form after major elbow surgery last year and is yet to make a cut since last year's SONY Open.

Stadler is a Champions Tour veteran now and is included because Masters traditions extend invitations to previous winners.

Not to do the Walrus a disservice or assume he’s only there to make up the numbers but it would be a huge effort for someone in his late 50s to pull off something special like that.

Coupled with Clark’s post-injury dip in form means Steele is the man to back at 6-5 (bet365).

Next on the agenda is the three-ball of Ryan Palmer, Ross Fisher and Harrison Frazar. Fisher has been very solid the last few seasons on the European tour but has hit a barron patch recently with form deserting him.

Palmer is fresh off an impressive seven under in last week's Shell Open and looks to be hitting form at the right time coming into Augusta – he finished 10th last year – while Frazar will be making his debut at the Masters. I'm going for Palmer at 7-5 (bet365).

The final grouping I’m focusing on for the first round is Jason Dufner, Charles Howell III and Bernhard Langer. The legendary German will tee up with his younger American counterparts through an ex-champions invite similar with Stadler however I cannot realistically see him outperforming them.

Howell is another one of those guys who were touted as the next big thing before somewhat failing to live up to the hype.

He’s bounced back well to become a steady player but this will be his first appearance at Augusta in five years.

Dufner has gone about his business quietly and efficiently since cruelly missing out to Keegan Bradley at last year's US PGA while being one of the most consistent putters on tour and, in proving the Americans really do have stats for everything, comes second on the “First Round Scoring” charts for the 2012 season. Dufner is my final pick at 11-8 (Stan James).

First Round Three-Balls

Brendan Steele (6-5) 12.50pm tee-off

Ryan Palmer (7-5) 13.23pm tee-off

Jason Dufner (11-8) 17.35pm tee-off

  1. Vinnie Hoey 12 years ago

    looks good paul

  2. Willie McGuire 12 years ago

    I get the same buzz about the Masters as I do wi Cheltenham, and Im onto the 3 picks also (I like the logic in the selections) and will add in
    Westwood 11/10
    Luke Donald 11/10
    Bo Van Pelt 15/8
    Paul Lawrie 11/10

    Tasty 7 fold ;0

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Willie, like you I look foward to the Masters. What I don’t like about head-to-head golf betting in particular is that one player can’t do anything about another one playing well. He can’t make a save or tackle him or stop him in any way. As you say the reasoning on the threeball picks is sound but any of the guys in the field could come out and hit a 68 or 69 which is difficult to beat in round one and none of the players opposing him can do anything about it (unless they chuck his putter in a brook when he’s not looking).

  3. Willie McGuire 12 years ago

    Paul have you ever seen Happy Gilmore?

    All my selections have a touch of the Adam Sandlers about them, so there sure is something they can do if getting cuffed :0D

    The 3 ball betting is decent value and gives an interest for small stakes with potential large returns. Ive added in Tiger at 8/11 to my 7 above and it pays £1,500 for a £3 accer with PP.

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Willie, love the film, great ending and his dream sequences are worth rewinding too.

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Willie, talking of golf I’m off to hit a few balls and try not to do a Happy Gilmore and stay out of the water at Clober’s signature fifth hole.

    • Willie McGuire 12 years ago

      Paul never played Clober…posh part of the world up there!! Give me a shout if you want a lesson at Caldwell GC (Uplawmoor). Im playin off 3 so how many shots would I get from you ;o)

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Willie, I’ll take a lesson anytime. I’m more of a social golfer these days with this site stopping me from playing more. You’d need to give me at least 10 shots.

  4. Bruce Robertson 12 years ago

    I like

    Schwartzel 11/10 to beat Bradley and Kraft
    KJ Choi 13/8 to beat Toms and Garcia

  5. Marc Currie 12 years ago

    Backed Donald draw no bet at 6/5 against Tiger today. Tee off 11 mins apart so it’ll be great to watch and judge it hole for hole!

  6. Peter brown 12 years ago

    Paul watching the Donald getting a DQ??? Meant to have scored his card incorrectly!

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Yeah, saw that. Waiting for confirmation on whether he’s in or out.

  7. Peter brown 12 years ago

    Lol there putting it down to a smudge on his scorecard! U couldnt make this up! Ha

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Peter, looks like he’s escaped as it’s being put down to a clerical error but will he catch Lee Westwood?

  8. Peter brown 12 years ago

    I hope so as I’ve got him to win it but Westwood is playing great! Should be a good weekend!!

  9. Daryl Cruickshank 12 years ago

    Had Dufner on to beat Furyk at evens on day.

    Won by a shot. Good start to the week

    • Mr Fixit 12 years ago

      Nice one, he’s no duffer is Dufner.

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