Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, is now a 2/1 favorite to take home his second green jacket in the last three years. The favorite through the first two days, Adam Scott, is right behind him at 9/2 to take him his second green jacket in as many years.
On a weekend that won't have Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, it will be crucial to have these two players carry the tournament and broadcast through to Sunday afternoon. Bubba has become a marketing force, but hadn't been a world-class player since the win at Augusta. He, understandably, retreated back a bit and cuddled up with his green jacket for awhile before really wanting to win again. A "Masters hangover" is what he called it yesterday in his news conference following as good a round as I've ever seen him play.
Bubba overwhelmed the course and the rest of the field on Friday afternoon. His playing partners, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, two of the best in the world, yielded and watched him put on a show in every part of the game, particularly through that five-straight birdies stretch on the second nine. Bubba hit bombed fades and low burners off the tees, sniped approach shots right on top of pins, hit a delicate chip or two to get up-and-down, and converted with the putter from both ridiculous distances and clutch moderate lengths. He's now gone 291 holes without a three-putt, the longest streak on the PGA Tour by a mile.
It Bubba plays anywhere near the form from Friday, he's going to run away with it. The time between that first major win and the start of the year was a bit shaky, a mix of blown chances and ambivalent non-contention. But in the first quarter of this season, he's back to actualizing all the natural talent, maybe more than anyone on Tour, and has two second-place finishes and that drought-ending win at Riviera. That he's in the hunt at the Masters is no surprise given his recent form. But there's another Bubba in there to be wary of, the one who hit that loose approach shot on No. 18 and missed a shorter par putt on the last green for bogey. A three-shot lead is not much for Bubba, who can have those blow-up stretches — his last tournament result was a WD because he put three balls in the water and made an 11 on one hole.
Scott has no such Masters hangover, and is playing to become No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career. The Aussie is still the favorite of the media talking heads, an inward 3-under 33 wiping out the damage of a sloppy start on Friday and putting a good image in everyone's mind. He's certainly the top chaser right now, but on moving day, he can't afford to mess around like he did in the second round and will need to get to work early, preferably with a red number at No. 2.
Scott's playing partner, Jordan Spieth, has the third-lowest odds at 10/1. Spieth would become the youngest player ever to win the Masters, edging Tiger Woods' historic 1997 victory. He's already the youngest to be inside the top 3 at the midpoint of the tournament, and he keeps breaking new barriers in his first 15 months as a full-time pro. He's at 3-under, also four shots back and will need to make a few birdies, and potentially an eagle like we saw at No. 15 on Friday, to make a push on moving day.
Here are your updated odds for the field heading into the third round:
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||300/1|
|Brendon De Jonge||500/1|