The Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Florida welcomes a stellar field for the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week and the bookies think that several top stars will be shooting it out for the $1,602,000 first prize.
They could be right too, as many of the world’s best golfers have won this prestigious tournament including Arnold Palmer himself when it was simply known as the Bay Hill Invitational. However, it’s an event that has also seen its fair share of shock winners, so it could also be worth taking a punt on a couple of players at bigger odds this week.
McIlroy the Pick of the Market Leaders
Punters have been robbed of the chance to back eight-time Bay Hill winner Tiger Woods this week after a back injury forced him to withdraw, but that simply strengthens the case for backing defending champion Rory McIlroy. McIlroy has played well here on his last two visits, finishing fourth in 2017 before a storming back-nine on the final day saw him lift the title last year. Rory also arrives at Bay Hill playing much better golf than he was before either of those top-4 finishes and it’s hard to see him finishing out of the money this week having posted top-5 finishes in his last four events.
Some of the other top-5 players may also go well this week such as Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau but, with shock winners like Martin Laird and Matt Every lifting the trophy in recent years, it could be worth taking a punt further down the field.
Two Outsiders Worth Backing
Two players that have played well in the event before that appear to be peaking at just the right time are Keegan Bradley and Jason Kokrak.
Former major winner Bradley was third here in 2013 and second in 2014 and he finished well for tenth-position in his last tournament. His struggles with the putter in the last few years have been well-documented and, as he seems to have found a way to get the ball in the hole, he should be relishing the chance to come back to a course he’s played well at before.
Kokrak hasn’t quite got the same pedigree as Bradley but, whilst he’s often been a very in-and-out performer in previous seasons, he’s been a model of consistency recently with four top-20 finishes in his last five tournaments. The best of those finishes came when ninth last time out and it’s worth noting he posted two top-6 finishes when arriving here in form in both 2014 and 2015.
Back Two Players to Hit the Top-20
It also looks worth taking a couple of stabs in the top-20 market this week on Patrick Rogers and Luke List. Rogers has emerged from a slump in his last two tournaments and he finished seventh here last year and twentieth in 2016. List also posted a top-20 two starts ago and, having finished seventeenth and seventh on his last two visits here, this bomber could also be another top-20 hit this week.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Tips
Rory McIlroy (Each-Way)
Keegan Bradley (Each-Way)
Jason Kokrak (Each-Way)
Patrick Rodgers Top-20
Luke List Top-20