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Fantasy Golf: 5 Dark Horse Candidates to Win the 2014 Masters

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5 Dark Horse Candidates to Win the 2014 Masters

Masters Scoreboard
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

The Masters is only days away, and in the first major of the year, players have the ability to make a statement. He could be a young player finally announcing himself onto the major scene, or he could be aging veteran making one last push at a major title.

Don't expect the usual contenders to grace the leaderboard throughout all four rounds. Here are five dark horse candidates who could slip on the green jacket at Augusta National.

5. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel Masters
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

5. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel Masters
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Horschel will be playing in his first Masters this weekend. He burst onto the scene last year at the U.S. Open, where he finished T-4 and even held the lead midway through the tournament. He had an accomplished amateur career as well, highlighted by his time at the University of Florida; he was a four-time All-American. His first career win came last year at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

4. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama Masters
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

4. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama Masters
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Hideki Matsuyama, at only 22 years of age, could be the first Japanese player to win a major. In April 2012, he was the top-ranked amateur. The following year, he turned pro, and he finished in the top 20 in three of the four majors. The only major he did not play in was the Masters, but it's not like he doesn't have experience at Augusta National. In 2011, he finished T-27, receiving low-amateur honors.

3. Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker Masters
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker Masters
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Walker may be the hottest player on tour right now. He has already won three times this year, including the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. With the treacherous Augusta greens, putting is key, and Walker is ranked second in strokes gained with the putter. He is ranked 24th according to the Official World Golf Rankings, and while he hasn't had a ton of success in majors in the past, this could be the year he breaks out.

2. Harris English

Harris English Masters
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

2. Harris English

Harris English Masters
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Augusta National could be a perfect course for Harris English. He hits the long ball, which could give him a distinct advantage on the Par 5s and the long Par 4s. English looks to be coming into his own; he earned two wins in 2013, one at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. English also went toe-to-toe with Rory McIlroy in the second round of the WGC Accenture Match Play, beating him 1up.

1. Thorbjorn Olesen

Thorbjorn Olesen Masters
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Thorbjorn Olesen

Thorbjorn Olesen Masters
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Thorbjorn Olesen is just oozing with talent. He earned four wins in he Nordic League after he turned pro in 2008. He played in his first Masters last year and he finished T-6. After an opening round 78, he shot a 70, 68 and 68. He knows how to play Augusta National, and he knows that he can succeed there. While he hasn't won on the PGA Tour yet, he is bound to some time -- why not the Masters?