Southampton’s European Tour star Richard Bland has no doubt that fellow Hampshire ace Justin Rose can win the Masters if he gets into contention on Sunday.
Rose will tomorrow begin his bid for a second major title of his career, having broken his duck when he claimed the US Open last year.
The 33-year-old former Hampshire first-team player has been grouped with Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson for the opening two rounds at Augusta.
Rose’s prospects of winning the Masters, a tournament he has led before, have been hampered by a niggling shoulder injury.
But, if he can overcome that and get himself into the thick of the battle on the final day, Bland is confident the world number eight can close out the win.
“Justin’s had a few injury issues this year, and that’s never easy,” said the Stoneham player.
“He came back from a few weeks out and, even though you know you’re fully fit, you’re always trying to figure out where you are.
“But he’s proved when he’s in the mix on a Sunday at a major that he can handle it, and I’m sure if he did get in there on Sunday that he will know how to finish the job off.”
Bland’s pick for the tournament, however, is two-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who has shown flashes of good form this year.
“The Masters is always a tough one to predict, but my money would probably be on Rory,” he said.
“Even though he’s had a couple of opportunities to win and hasn’t, I think he’s been moving in the right direction and, out of the top six or seven in the world, he will probably be more quietly confident.”