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Matsuyama Is Peaking at Right Time for Masters Defence

Posted by Admin 19 Feb 2022

It’s early in the year to be talking about the best golf shots and performances of 2022, but there is a fair chance that we will be talking about Hideki Matsuyama’s wonder shot at January’s Sony Open for years to come. It was the perfect shot under pressure, coming in the playoff with Russell Henley on the Par 5 18th. With 276 yards to the tee and at a difficult angle, Matsuyama – Hawaiian sun blurring in his eyes – hit an incredible fade to land the ball with 2 feet of the hole. Golf experts discussed the mechanics of the shot, and they agreed that it’s not for the faint-hearted to try. 



But wonder-shot aside, the Sony Open victory has put Matsuyama back in the world’s top ten, and there are enough signs to suggest that he is in a good position to retain the Green Jacket in April. Unlike, say, Rory McIlroy, Matsuyama is not what we would call a streaky player. But he does sometimes seem to need to find his rhythm in order to be competitive. And with two victories in his last four tournaments (he landed the ZoZo Championship at the end of 2021), there’s every reason to believe he can become a double Masters winner on 10th April. 


Hovland and Rahm heating up nicely

Of course, he will have some stiff competition. Joseph Champion, who provides golf tournament previews and betting tips for MansionBet, recently picked out five players primed for success in 2022. Among them were two players who many believe should be considered favourites for the Masters – Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland. At the time of writing, they are the world number one and three, respectively, and their form has made a big statement that at least one Major will come their way this year. 



Rahm, of course, needs no introduction. He is a fiery character, and that can sometimes impact his game. But he joins Collin Morikawa as the standout performer in men’s golf over the last year. Rahm is the betting favourite for the Masters right now, with Morikawa close behind. But as we well know, being the bookies’ pick and getting to wear the Green Jacket after 72 holes at Augusta can be very different things. 


Hovland has arguably had the greatest ascendency of any player in golf over the last couple of years. At one point in 2020, he was almost ranked outside the world’s top 100. Today, after three tournament victories in his last five, he is world number three. Golf betting tends to favour those who have been there, done that, so you can still find big odds for him to win the Masters. But we would have every confidence that he can challenge. 


And yet, we still can’t help but think Matsuyama is peaking at the right time. His calmness under pressure is such a potent weapon for him to take to Augusta, even if he does face a challenge from the likes of Jon Rahm, and pundits should write him off at their peril. There is a lot of golf to be played between now and then, but there is a sense of momentum behind the Japanese maestro, and he might just become one of the few players to successfully defend their Masters crown.



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