With the golf world descending on Augusta National this week, one of the more fun ways of getting some money down is on some of the smaller markets than outright winner – and one of them is Top Canadian. It’s Corey Conners vs. Mackenzie Hughes vs. Mike Weir.
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Winner of the Valero Texas Open in 2019 and No. 32 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Corey Conners is one of the world’s elite ball strikers, but mostly unable to find success with his putter. He ranks 14th on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, highlighting a very valuable skillset at Augusta National.
The problem for Conners finding the winner’s circle is simple – he doesn’t have enough weeks where his putter is good enough to win. Inevitably, someone will roll his putts in at a high rate most weeks, and he doesn’t have those weeks.
That said, he has an impressive Augusta track record – a T8 and a T10 in his last two starts here. Although, the T8 had the fortunate bounce of a hole-in-one on No. 6.
Corey Conners is a good fit for the course, but other than a third-place place at the WGC-Match Play two weeks ago and a T11 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his results have been mediocre in 2022.
The Canadian Jordan Spieth, as he is sometimes called, Mackenzie Hughes sits at No. 58 in the world and comes off a T40 here last year. He is Conners’ opposite in every way.
Hughes features middling Tee-to-Green numbers but ranks sixth on the PGA TOUR in SG: Putting in 2022 and second since the Pandemic shutdown. Hughes has a knack for making long putts at the right time.
The Spieth comparison, while putting him in a class above his talents, is apt because the way Spieth manages his way around Augusta National is how Hughes will have to – playing out of position, needing to get up and down from everywhere, and having to roll some long putts to put himself in contention.
Betting on putting in any given week is hard because of its inherent volatility, but if you’re going to need someone to make everything, the guy who is second on the TOUR in the last two years is probably a good bet.
The 2003 Masters Champion is officially in the Fred Couples/Bernhard Langer zone of frisky older men with the ability to maybe find some form for a week. Competitive on the Champions Tour, Mike Weir is player better golf now than in his 40s, but he would need a miracle week – and some bad play from Hughes and Conners – to contend in this prop market.
Conners is rightly favoured, with the combination of past results and coming off a thrid-place finish in Austin two weeks ago, but Hughes is absolutely worth a shout at +220.
Hughes has a skillset that we know works very well here, and Conners’ form outside of Austin has been brutal. Hughes hasn’t exactly played great, but he has a history of good Major results when his putter is rolling, with a T6 at the 2021 Open Championship and a T15 at the US Open.
Given the skillset that Hughes has, and the likelihood that Conners’ irons won’t be as sharp (or as lucky) as 2021, I will be betting the underdog.
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