Thursday Pairings at Augusta: One Prediction
…from each of the first ten threesomes. They’ll be going off in trios on Thursday at Augusta and I have a unique prediction for each of the first ten groups. While eyes will be on Tiger, Rory, Bubba and other trendy and trending competitors, I’ll be paying attention to the 30 guys who hit the greens before the spike marks kick the place up. Don’t bet the farm or any other portion of your savings on these calls, but if I’m correct, pay me due homage
*Group one: John Peterson. This guys can go off, absolutely go off on birdie runs. He challenged for the US Open in 2012 (ergo, an invitation to this event was forthcoming) and lost a playoff as an amateur for a Nationwide/Web.Com tour event. Give him clean greens and a hot putter and you have the first newsmaker of the day.
*Group two: Russell Henley. Played for UGA not far away, won on tour in Hawaii in his first card-carrying tour start and has a great (no pressure) pairing with Larry Mize and Brian Gay. He’ll make a bogey or two, but should counter those with a slew of birdies.
*Group three: I don’t like this group. Woosnam is no fun and Na is volatile. David Lynn needs to channel the form that garnered him a runner-up finish at the 2012 PGA Championship. If Georgia is as much to his liking as was South Carolina, he’ll make waves.
*Group four: Richard Sterne. They say the South Africans like Augusta. This one has a few tour victories notched in his belt and is returning from an injury-laden 2012. I suspect that he’ll be under the radar for 27 holes, especially given a nice pairing with Potter and Toms
*Group five: Halfway there and it’s Kevin Streelman. Not Ryan Moore, but the recent first-time winner, Streelman. He’ll be motivated by a pairing with 2014 Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson and will impress the team leader with his play over two rounds.
*Group six: I like all three guys in this group, so I’ll make a pluralistic prediction here~Garrigus, Clark and Petterson (one and all) will be in the top 15 by day’s end.
*Group seven: Weir will birdie early, but won’t make a run ten years after his win. Furyk’s two drivers will draw attention (get it?) but he’ll fade away (killing me!) due to indecision. Westwood is the guy in this group. If a no-name takes the lead, Westwood will challenge. If Tiger or Rory is in front, Westwood won’t have the “it” that it takes to win.
*Group eight: Snedeker would have been a popular and legitimate pick save for the injury he suffered as the California tour swing drew to a close. Instead, we select Justin Rose. Nice record at Augusta and he has to win a biggie at some point, doesn’t he?
*Group nine: Very relaxed tee time for Marc Leishman, the surprise Aussie of 2013. With Chema Olazabal and amateur Vogel alongside posing no intimidation, Leishman gets out of the gates in style.
*Group ten: Throw them in the air and pick one. I believe that Hanson is on a Bjorn-style run of top five finishes here. Another comes his way in 2013, albeit not a victory.
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