Sunday 4 December 2016

Five groups to watch out for at the Masters

Phil Casey

Published 05/04/2016 | 18:36

Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer have been grouped with Bill Haas in Augusta this week.
Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer have been grouped with Bill Haas in Augusta this week.

Rory McIlroy has been drawn in the final group for Thursday's opening round of the Masters as he seeks the victory he needs to complete the career grand slam.

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Here, we look at five notable groups hoping to make a good start to the first major championship of the season.

0915 (local time) - Tom Watson, Charley Hoffman, Lee Westwood

Westwood has a consistent record around Augusta and Hoffman was joint second after an opening 67 last year, but most eyes will be on two-time winner Tom Watson, who is making his final Masters appearance.

0948 - Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau

Defending champion Spieth is seeking to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo as the only players to win back-to-back titles, while "golfing scientist" and US Amateur champion DeChambeau - who uses irons all cut to the same length - will turn professional next week.

US Masters 2016: Interactive scorecard for Augusta  

1244 - Bubba Watson, Branden Grace, Ian Poulter

Watson won the green jacket in 2014 and 2012 but has been hampered by sinus problems in the build-up. The Masters is the only major of 2016 for which Poulter is currently exempt, but he was sixth 12 months ago and third in Puerto Rico in his last PGA Tour event.

1306 - Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els

Day comes into the week ranked number one in the world after victories in his last two starts and having claimed a maiden major in the 2015 US PGA Championship. Els has overcome the dreaded yips this year to revive his career.

1401 - Martin Kaymer, Bill Haas, Rory McIlroy

Two-time major winner Kaymer has missed the cut in five of his eight Masters appearances and was thrashed 8&6 by Zach Johnson in the WGC-Dell Match Play. McIlroy is looking to win a first green jacket to become the sixth player to complete a career grand slam, but is the only member of the world's top five not to have won in 2016.

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