Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm Among Masters 2023 '1st Round Leader' Targets

I generally stay away from "1st Round Leader" bets but it's The Masters 2023 and I want to lock in a profit after Day 1. That's the goal anyway. There was no way I'd bet this market until the official Masters tee times were released.

Typically, it's wise to target someone in the Thursday a.m. wave of a golf tourney because course conditions worsen as the day progresses. Golfers beat up the course plus wind and weather make the tracks firmer and faster aka "tougher".

Heads up: I'm only splitting a fourth-of-a-unit (u) over several golfers to finish 1st after 18 holes at the Masters. But, the payouts are juicier and wagering a "cup of coffee" on a 1st round leader could put us in the black for the Masters.

Masters 'End of Round 1 Leader' Looks (DraftKings)

Cameron Young (+3500)

Young got paired with a couple of alpha for a 10:42 a.m. tee time: Jon Rahm (No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings and 2021 U.S. Open winner) and Justin Thomas (2-time major champion).

As a debutant at the 2022 Masters, Young struggled and missed the cut. But, Young has held several 18-, 36-, and 54-hole leads in his rookie season last year. He was the 1st-round leader of the 2022 Open (British) Championship.

Young is yet to win a PGA Tour event but everyone believes wins are coming, and probably in droves. This dude crushes the ball off-the-tee and can overpower every course on the planet. Young is 3rd in driving distance on Tour.

Also, Young got Webb Simpson's former caddie, Paul Tesori, on his bag. Tesori was Simpson's bag when he won the 2012 U.S. Open and he was Vijay Singh's caddie when Singh was World No. 1.

In his 1st event with the new caddie, Young was the runner up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play to Sam Burns last month. The new caddie helped Young immediately.

BET: 0.1u on Cameron Young to be the 2023 Masters 'End of Round 1 Leader' at DraftKings

Joaquin Niemann (+4500)

I'm not gonna lie, it hurt me when Niemann defected to the LIV Tour. I know, I know, the golfer is just doing what's best for him, his family and his wallet. Whatever.

While I understand why Niemann made his move (CASH), that doesn't mean my fandom for him carried into the LIV Tour. I, like everyone else, do not watch the defector's circuit. So there's no "recent form" to speak to for Niemann.

However, Niemann went wire-to-wire to win the 2022 Genesis Invitational. The host track for that event is Riviera Country Club, which is a comp course to Augusta National Golf Club.

His win at Riviera earned Niemann his 1st invitation to the Masters last year. Course history is huge at the Masters since it's the only major that's played at the same course every season. Now that Niemann is not a debutant, I feel better about backing him.

According to FantasyNational.com, Niemann is 3rd in total Strokes Gained (SG) in his last 12 Round 1s at events with "difficult scoring conditions" and 1st in SG: Putting.

BET: 0.1u on Joaquin Niemann to be the 2023 Masters 'End of Round 1 Leader' at DraftKings

Jon Rahm (+1800)

My addiction to betting long-shots in golf has kept me away from ever winning money on Rahm. That's sort of the case here as well but I can get behind Rahm to be the 1st round leader at the Masters.

Over his last 12 Round 1s, Rahm is 5th in total SG at courses with difficult scoring conditions. That's a good stat to add to my handicap but, let's be real, it's not really needed. Everyone knows Rahm and what he can do.

He's one of the Big 3 along with Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy. But, sportsbooks managers have went on betting shows and bettors have cooled off on Rahm at the Masters. It seems like the perfect time for me to jump in on Rahm.

Here's what Rahm has done so far this season: 4th at The CJ Cup, 1st at the Sentry, 1st at the AmEx, 7th at the Farmers, 3rd at Phoenix, 1st at Riviera, and 39th at his last full event, the Arnold Palmer. Oh, he led after Round 1 at the Arnold Palmer.

BET: 0.1u on Jon Rahm to be the 2023 Masters 'End of Round 1 Leader' at DraftKings

Tiger Woods (+5000)

According to OutKick golf guru, Mark Harris, Tiger said at his Masters press conference that's he feeling his best since the 2021 car accident that almost took his life.

That's good enough for a Tiger fanboy like me to get behind him at the Masters. This is no shocker but Tiger has the most total SG at Augusta of anyone in the field. I mean Tiger is a 5-time Masters winner.

Also, this isn't a sharp handicapping angle, Tiger's best round at the Masters is likely to be the 1st. The slopes at Augusta makes it a tough course to walk and Tiger could be worn out by the weekend.

Tiger surprised talking heads by finishing all four rounds at the Genesis in February. What was even more surprising was Tiger out-drove his Genesis playing partners McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

I.e. Tiger still hits the s*** of the ball and if his knee/back/body holds up, Woods can compete at Augusta.

BET: 0.1u on Tiger Woods to be the 2023 Masters 'End of Round 1 Leader' at DraftKings

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