US MASTERS

Bubba Watson: one of five to watch at the Augusta Masters

As the players finish off the fine tuning of their drive, chips and putts we look at those that may be worth keeping an eye on...

Bubba Watson: one of five to watch at the Augusta Masters
Kevin C. Cox AFP

JASON DAY

The 28-year-old Australian will arrive at Augusta National as the hottest player in the game having followed his victory at last month's Arnold Palmer Invitational with a win at the WGC-Dell Match Play event seven days later, Day, whose best Masters finish was a tie for second in 2011, will likely be under less pressure than previous appearances having already secured his long-awaited first major title at last year's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. That maiden major triumph for the current world number one came during a remarkable stretch that included four tournament wins in six starts on the PGA Tour last season.

Australian Jason Day watches a drive disappear during the first day's practice ahead of the Masters.

BUBBA WATSON

Like fellow Americans Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Watson is one of a handful of players who can head into the Masters without playing their best golf but still find a way to get into contention. Watson, who won at Augusta in 2012 and 2014, sent an early-season reminder that he remains a threat when he triumphed at February's Northern Trust Open over a field that included Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. The 37-year-old American left-hander enjoys a huge comfort factor on the heavily contoured Augusta National layout and he can count on plenty of support as his do-or-die approach has made him a perennial fan favourite at the Masters.

Bubba WatsonBubba Watson watches his drive on the first hole during round-robin play against Emiliano Grillo at the Dell Match Play Championship.

ADAM SCOTT

At 35, the Australian may be in the advanced stage of his career but Scott has been historically good at Augusta National and as a former Masters champion knows what it takes to handle the pressure of a major. Scott, the only Australian to clinch the Masters following his triumph in 2013, this season emulated Tiger Woods by becoming just the second player to win back-to-back events on the PGA Tour's Florida swing, despite having his anchored putter technique banned at the start of the year. If history is any indication then Scott, who finished inside the top 10 in three of the other seven events he has entered this season, will be a force to be reckoned with as he is one of only five golfers to have made nine of the last 10 Masters cuts.

The 80th Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.Adam Scott of Australia smiles as he waits to play a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 80th Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National.

CHARL SCHWARTZEL

The 31-year-old South African, who made birdies on each of the last four holes to win the Masters by two shots in 2011, has struggled in his last four starts at Augusta National but is enjoying a resurgence this season. Schwartzel has enjoyed a brilliant campaign so far, having won a pair of tournaments on the European Tour and one on the PGA Tour during a red-hot stretch that gave him three victories in six starts. His playoff victory over Bill Haas at last month's Valspar Championship could not have come at a better time as it marked the South African's first triumph in the United States since his 2011 Masters triumph.

Charl Schwartzel of South Africa getting out of the sand at the pro-am prior to the start of the Shell Houston Open in Texas.

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA

Matsuyama, 24, may be considered a longshot heading into the year's first major but he will surely beg to differ having shot up the world rankings after successful seasons in 2014 and 2015, the latter highlighted by a fifth-place finish at the Masters. The rising Japanese talent displayed supreme poise in the clutch earlier this year when he earned a playoff victory over Rickie Fowler at the Phoenix Open in February to claim his second PGA Tour victory. Matsuyama, who has made no secret that he yearns to be the first Asian golfer to win at Augusta National, posted all four rounds under par at last year's Masters, including a 66 that tied Rory McIlroy for the lowest score in the final round.

The Masters - Preview Day 1Hideki Matsuyama of Japan getting around in practice prior to the start of the 2015 Masters.