The Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting
The PGA Tour remains in Florida this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the field is a strong one, although Tiger Woods doesn’t feature around one of his favourite golf courses. This week’s favourite is the world number one Rory McIlroy, who can be backed at 13/2. The likes of Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson are also in the field and they’re not too far behind McIlroy in the betting after good performances in recent weeks.
2014 – Matt Every -14
2013 – Tiger Woods -14
2012 – Tiger Woods -14
2011 – Martin Laird -9
2010 – Ernie Els -12
The Course – Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Course Yardage 7,381
Bay Hill Golf Course is a par 72 that plays a relatively short 7,381 yards. Despite this it is one of the more testing courses on the PGA tour calendar, particularly if the rough is up. Water comes into play on numerous holes and there are over 100 bunkers scattered across the course.
The greens are usually pretty quick at Bay Hill and this favours the better putters. Last year five of the six players that finished inside the top five (with PGA Tour stats available & including ties) were ranked 55th or better in terms of strokes gained putting at the end of 2014.
The fairways have been widened for this year’s event and this will inevitably allow the bombers to overpower the course, however driving accuracy has been equally as important as driving distance in previous years. In the last two renewals of the Arnold Palmer Invitational eleven players have finished inside the top five (including ties) with stats available. Seven of those eleven golfers were ranked inside the top 57 in the total driving statistic on the PGA Tour in the year they recorded their top five finish. This indicates how important driving the ball well is this week.
Rickie Fowler – I was surprised to see Rickie Fowler priced at 30/1 this week, he may only have one PGA Tour win to his name but he’s proved how talented he is. Last year he finished inside the top five in each major championship and this is an astonishing achievement. Admittedly Fowler has made a relatively slow start to the year but he performed well in the WGC Cadillac Championship recently. Only two players made more birdies than the young American and he played well from tee to green throughout the week.
Fowler may have missed the cut in this event last year but he finished 3rd the year before which suggests he can perform well around this course. Length off the tee will inevitably be advantageous this year and Fowler averaged 297.5 yards with his driver last season on the PGA Tour.
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Martin Laird – Martin Laird is a three time winner on the PGA Tour and I think he is a generous price at 80/1. The Scotsman has had an excellent year so far and has come close to winning on a couple of occasions. He tied for fifth in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and seventh in the Farmers Insurance Open. Last week Martin finished in a respectable 33rd position and he hit more greens in regulation than any other player, this shows that he is playing some very good golf at the moment.
One of Laird’s three PGA Tour wins came in this tournament, this implies that he has the ability to perform well around this track. The course has had some minor changes since his victory and the widening of the fairways should benefit Martin who is long off the tee.
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Justin Thomas – Justin Thomas impressed on the Web.com tour last year by recording seven top tens, this led to the young American earning his PGA Tour card for the first time. Thomas has made an excellent start to his first season on the PGA Tour, he’s recorded four top ten finishes in twelve starts. One of those came last week in the Valspar Championship, this suggests that his game is in good shape coming into the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s a long driver of the ball and I think those who hit the ball a long way have an advantage this week, Justin Thomas is currently ranked 27th in the driving distance statistic on the PGA Tour.
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