Ahead of Thursday’s highly anticipated start of the 2020 Masters, Compleat Golfer‘s GARY LEMKE and ANDRE HUISAMEN reveal their variety of picks for the week.
Gary Lemke – Sometimes the planets just align and Jon Rahm has already had two hole-in-ones in practice this week – though technically his water-skipping ‘trick’ at the 16th isn’t an ace – and it was his birthday. The world No 2 is on the brink of breaking his Major duck and finished fourth two years ago – at least in the 2018 event played that April.
Andre Huisamen – What a week to prove oneself worthy of being the world No 1. Dustin Johnson‘s dominance in 2020 will be capped if he comes out on top at Augusta. Consistent, determined, having beaten Covid-19 – the man can’t do anything wrong lately and will undeniably be the one to beat this week.
Lemke – Dustin Johnson is world No 1 for a reason. Arrived at Augusta on the back of a runner’s-up spot last week in Houston, was runner-up in last year’s Masters and has finished top 10 in his last four visits to Augusta.
Huisamen – One player who is capable of upsetting the favourites is Justin Thomas. Probably a favourite in the eyes of some, JT loves the big stage and is a lethal competitor when the odds are stacked against him. With seven top-10 finishes, including one victory since golf’s restart, the 27-year-old will carry a lot of optimism and confidence into Thursday’s tee-off.
Lemke – Patrick Cantlay. Beat a strong field when winning the Zozo Championship last month and was in the top 10 at Augusta last year. Rarely one mentioned when talking about the galaxy of modern stars, he has quietly made progress up the year-end rankings, finishing 38th, 18th and seventh in the last three years.
Huisamen – Brooks Koepka appears to be hitting some form going into the 2020 Masters after a solid T5 at last week’s Houston Open. The four-time Major champion has had his fair share of injury problems over the past 12 months, but his recent return provided sparks of what fans have come to expect of him in the big moments.
To miss the cut:
Lemke – Matthew Wolff. Not a fan of predicting ‘negative vibes’, so apologies in advance to the Wolffman. Has risen to No 14 in the world and a terrific young talent. Still learning about consistency, though, and five missed cuts this year – to go with three seconds – points to that. Augusta is not the place to be if you’re striving for consistency.
Huisamen – Since his heroic PGA Championship triumph in August, Collin Morikawa has missed four cuts on the PGA Tour. The talent is undoubtedly there, but the ‘California Kid’ will face a much sterner test in Georgia this week. His inexperience or development process might work against him in the first two rounds of the Masters.
Saffa to watch:
Lemke – Louis, Louis, Louis. Incredible big-match temperament and knows what it takes to succeed at Augusta, having come so close in 2012. He seems to always turn up in Major week and finished third, albeit eight shots back, in the last men’s Major played, the US Open in September.
Huisamen – Louis Oosthuizen is of course South Africa’s golden ticket for a Major win and I hope he does so this year. But, I’m willing to throw a lot of confidence behind Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who could pull off a few surprises. It’s going to be an incredible week for him and Erik van Rooyen in their Masters debuts.