US Masters – Trading Golf markets

06/04/2016 | By | Reply More

I like the US Masters, mainly because it’s the only major played on the same course each year. This means you can collect a ton of stats on how the course plays. This gives me a good guide as to when to trade in and out of a position. You can do this on most courses, but because the Masters is at the same location every year it is much more predictable.

If you are a golf player, when you step up to the first tee, you will already know which are the hardest and easiest holes thanks to the stroke index. When trading however, knowing the hardest holes isn’t sufficient, you need to know what impact each hole is likely to have on the score. Augusta gives us this chance.

11-04-2014 20-52-36 - Full P&L - Copy

How the course plays

Laying shorter priced players ahead of a trickier part of the course or backing bigger prices approaching easier holes can be a good strategy.

The most likely hole to drop a shot on is the 11th but variance to par, one of my main metrics, means that a dropped shot is quite likely to occur in bunches. The most expensive three holes over the course are holes 10-12 where on average there is a nearly a 28% chance of dropping a shot.

Players tend to pick up shots on the par fives so holes 13-15 are where you can pick up a shot. There is an average 40% chance you will pick up a shot on these holes. Players are most likely to eagle the 13th but two holes later is another chance. The last three holes are testing and dropped shots are likely here.

In the graph below you can see we have cluster the holes into groups of three holes and used a bit of maths to highlight the chance of dropping a shot at any of those three. Holes 10-12 show the highest chance of dropping a shot, 13-15 the lowest.

dropping over three

Previous years

In 2014 Rory McIlroy was sent off favourite at [11.5] but had slipped to [110.0] by the cut. Eventual winner and former green jacket holder Bubba Watson was three shots in the lead and trading at only [3.0] by the cut. McIlroy went from [36.0] to [7.0] in 2011 before losing and just [3.55] from an SP of [8.0] in 2012. In 2013 he was set off at [15.5] and reached [6.2].

Jordan Speith was on fire in 2015 and couldn’t be caught, but that’s unusual. He doesn’t have good form coming into this year’s tournament. No Fred Couples is a major blow this year as he has always been a great trade. Everybody will be talking about Rory McIlory again, but Rory has his head screwed on and is likely to win one year but whether it’s this year or not is anybodies guess.

Some strategies

In 2012, eventual winner Watson was [14.5] at the cut with three shorter prices above him. Second round contenders within five of the leader produce a winner 82% of the time and that will have risen to 94% by the end of the the third round.

Therefore ‘dutching‘ the front of the field at the cut or at the start of round three is very likely to find a winner. When dutching using Bet Angel you nominate how much you want to win and select a range of players you want to win.

Some of how the Golf plays out depends on the weather, which we don’t know for sure just yet. If it’s consistent then stick with the leaders later in the tournament. If it’s not, then start laying them. A lead of a few shots will get more valuable with each hole played.

So it’s best to stick with opposing players who have a slender lead to lose on a harder part of the course. Always bear in mind the tougher and easier holes and you will put yourself in a good position to trade out for a profit.

Good starters at Augusta

I have data going back to 2004 now at Augusta, but looking back at the last six years throws up some interesting information. Schwartzel has always reached the end of day one at better odds than at the start, the only player in this sample to do so.

Players who did this 5/6 years are Mickelson & Poulter

Players who did this 4/6 years are Mahan, Donald, Moore, Woods & Immelman

A whole host are on 3/6 – Garcia, Ogilvy, Kaymer, Snedeker, McIlroy, Cabrera, Stenson, Dufner, Kuchar, Couples, Fowler, Singh, McDowell, Johnson, Bjorn, Scott, Woodland, Senden, Simpson, Rose, Bradley. The latter part of that bunch look the most interesting.

Of course, you can also look at those that had higher prices at the end of day one. Other players of note in descending order (worst to better) are: –

Mize, Crenshaw, Stadler, Weir, Woosnam, Maria Olaz, Watson, Ishikawa, Na, Langer, Jimenez, Crane, Palmer, Westwood, Haas, Watney, Furyk, Harrington, Els, Casey, Oosthuizen, Hanson, Molinari, Matsuyama, Johnson, Toms, Glover, Stricker, Watson, Cink, Day, Clark

Yes, you read it correctly. Quite a few of those players at the back of that list traditionally haven’t got off to the best start. But if they do, that’s another thing altogether! But you can be sure that this will be playing in their mind.

Good luck!


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Category: Featured, Golf

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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