US Masters 2024 First Round Leader Tips: Three to go low on Thursday

 | April 10 | 

7 mins read

Golf tipster Jamie Worsley has already given us his main US Masters Prediction piece and some Specials bets but now he's also provided us with some picks for the First Round Leader market, with three each-way picks ranging from 40-45/1, to go well on Thursday at Augusta National. 

The Masters First Round Leader Tips

  • 1 pt Dustin Johnson each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 40/1
  • 1 pt Shane Lowry each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 45/1 
  • 1 pt Tommy Fleetwood each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 45/1

Now to look at the opening round of the 2024 Masters and with some potentially turbulent weather on the way, it could be a hugely chaotic one.


Thursday’s forecast looks bleak, with heavy rain falling prior to the start of the event, strong winds on show all day (with potential gusts of 40mph+) and thunderstorms predicted to arrive just as those early groups are scheduled to tee off, persisting throughout much of the day.

Of course, this could all change before tee-off and hopefully the storms stay away, to allow the first round to be completed without delay, but if not, we should expect several stoppages on Thursday. Which would likely see the later starters completing their opening round on Friday morning.

Unfortunately for those later starters, whilst the rain and storms should disperse for Friday morning, the winds will remain. When added to the typically chilly Augusta mornings, it’s hard to fathom which part of the draw this sketchy and unpredictable forecast will favour, if any.

First-round leaders and their start times since 2014:

2023 – Jon Rahm (10:42), Brooks Koepka (11:54), Viktor Hovland (10:18)

2022 – Sungjae Im (13:27)

2021 – Justin Rose (12:48)

2020 – Paul Casey (07:54), Dylan Frittelli (12:10), Dustin Johnson (12:10)

2019 – Bryson DeChambeau (13:38), Brooks Koepka (14:00)

2018 – Jordan Spieth (13:49)

2017 – Charley Hoffman (13:08)

2016 – Jordan Spieth (09:48)

2015 – Jordan Spieth (13:15)

2014 – Bill Haas (10:08)

Whilst the above list shows that the very earliest starters are often best avoided in this market, with Paul Casey in 2020 the only player there to tee-off before 09:48, there is no guarantee these players will play a significant amount of golf early on Thursday. The problematic weather forecast really does throw a spanner in the works here and I feel it’s best to explore other angles in this market this week.


One thing that the majority of recent Masters first-round leaders have in common is that they have previously gone well in the event and much like winning the event outright, your chances of taking the FRL are heavily hindered if making your debut.

In those last ten editions, Dylan Frittelli is just one of twelve individual players to at least share a piece of the FRL without having previously recorded a top-25 finish at Augusta, with seven of those possessing a finish of 4th or better. In addition to that, all barring Frittelli had shot an under par round previously, with seven of the twelve going as low as -5.

Furthermore, FRL is often about players who can make a bunch of birdies and go low. That’s much less relevant here with those predicted first-round conditions, and it will perhaps prove more beneficial to side with players who have demonstrated an ability and possess the skillset to perform well in challenging weather.

1 pt Dustin Johnson each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 40/1

Start time: 14:00

Dustin Johnson hit the first-round lead here in much more scorable conditions than are expected tomorrow/Friday, however he has also demonstrated an ability to play Augusta well at its toughest and looks a good shout to score a second Masters FRL this week.

DJ started the year with a couple of strong performances on the LIV circuit, following a 5th-place finish in Mexico by winning on his next start in Vegas. Results haven’t been as strong since but he appears to be hitting the ball well enough and now arrives at a place where he has so often performed well.

He’s missed just two cuts in thirteen Masters starts, recording a brilliant stretch of five consecutive top 10s between 2015-2020, culminating in that 2020 victory. Of course, that win came at a receptive Augusta National in November due to covid, in the lowest scoring renewal in the history of the event, however he’s also performed well in some of the tougher recent renewals and I’m especially keen to draw on his 4th-place finish in 2016.

Severe winds saw Danny Willett run out winner of the event that year, with his -5 winning score the highest since Zach Johnson shot +1 to win in 2007. The middle rounds were especially difficult and it is here where DJ excelled, shooting -1 to tie the lowest score of round two and his even-par third round was the sixth-best score that day.

He again showed his ability to play a trickier Augusta as recently as 2022, shooting a 3-under 69 to sit 3rd after the opening round, and looks a good bet to get off to a similarly good start under demanding conditions this week.

1 pt Shane Lowry each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 45/1 

Start time: 12:24

Cool, wet and windy weather just screams Shane Lowry and as the second-best iron player in this field over recent starts, the Irishman looks an obvious candidate to be among the leading contenders after the opening round.

Shane started the season slowly but as his approach play has improved, so have his results. He looked excellent in Florida recently, finishing 4th in the Cognizant Classic, 3rd  in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and 19th in THE PLAYERS Championship on his last three starts, before finishing 29th on the DPWT in Singapore.

When taking into account those three most recent PGA starts, there is only Scottie Scheffler on tour playing better than him in approach; with the driver also looking strong and him possessing a magical touch around-the-greens he obviously has the right areas of his game clicking for Augusta.

A major part of those recent results has been Lowry’s ability to start fast, ranking 2nd on tour in round one scoring this year. Which helped him on his way to a first-round lead at Bay Hill three starts ago.

He also made his fastest ever start to this event last year, sitting 6th after an opening 68 and with it of little surprise to see him record a Masters best of 3rd in 2022 - the most demanding renewal of the event overall since 2017 – he can better that first-round position this week.

1 pt Tommy Fleetwood each-way (1/4, 5 Places) First-Round Leader @ 45/1

Start time: 14:00

Much like Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood often excels when conditions make things tough and entering this week after his best performance of the year in the US in Texas last week, I’m taking him to handle these difficult starting conditions as well as anyone.

Fleetwood began his year strongly by taking down Rory McIlroy on his second start in the Dubai Invitational. He has since looked solid in his limited PGA Tour starts to date, finishing 10th in the Genesis Invitational four starts ago and then 7th in Texas last week, where he ranked 4th in the field T2G.

His controlled ball-striking and sharpness around the greens is what has defined his career and in turn, made him appear an obvious fit for Augusta. Though whilst not quite hitting the heights I feel he could or maybe should here, there are plenty of positives to be found in past performances. Especially in similar conditions to what players will face at the start of this week’s event.

Another unsurprising similarity to Lowry is that Tommy recorded his best Masters finish of 14th in 2022 and I’m particularly attracted to his performance in round three there, as with Cameron Smith the only player to shoot in the 60s on that tough third day, Fleetwood produced the second best score of the round, firing a 2-under 70.

His good record at PGA National and in Scotland further highlights his ability to play the wind and if taking confidence from his performance in Texas, he should be ready to make a speedy start to this year’s Masters.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips at Betfred Insights 

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