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PGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot
Check out our preview for the Arnold Palmer Invitational which takes place at Bay Hill Club and Lodge, between the 7th to the 10th of March. 



The US PGA Tour 2019
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Florida
7th-10th March 2018

The second stop in the West Coast Swing sees a stellar field line up for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Formerly known as the Bay Hill Invitational and Bay Hill Open, this iconic event is one of the longest running single course events on the PGA Tour. The King purchased this course back in 1976 and transformed it into a remarkable layout. This will be the 41st consecutive season that Bay Hill has hosted this event. Rory McIlroy returns to defend the title he so majestically claimed last year. He ranked 1st in driving distance at a course that will clearly favor the bigger hitters. 

As with any other Floridian course, Bay Hill is always subject to wind. The Bermuda greens are fairly accommodating and run at around 11.5 on the stimp. This is a ball-strikers’ paradise, with four intimidating par 3’s. The widening of fairways and felling of trees has drastically simplified the course for the professionals. The great man himself envisioned Bay Hill as a course that could be accommodating to amateurs whilst still providing a stern test for professional players. It means that the course really needs some wind to protect it this week.

Six of the top ten players in the World Golf Rankings will tee it up this week. Tiger Woods- an 8 time champion at Bay Hill- has withdrawn late due to a neck injury. Defending champion Rory McIlroy will look to get some more Augusta preparation this week. He has finished inside the top 5 in all four events he has played thus far. Recently displaced World Number One Justin Rose tees it up once again while the likes of Ricky Fowler and Brooks Koepka enter this event in excellent form. Aussie pair Mark Leishmann and Jason Day are both former champions here while another former champ- Vijay Singh- has been giving a special exemption following his heroics at PGA National last week. 

Past Winners

2018: Rory McIlroy (-18)
2017: Mark Leishmann (-11)
2016: Jason Day (-17)
2015: Matt Every (-19)
2014: Matt Every (-13)

Betting Favorites (To Win)

Rory McIlroy (8/1)
Justin Rose (12/1)
Ricky Fowler (12/1)
Jason Day (14/1)
Brooks Koepka (14/1)



Value Bets

Francisco Molinari
To Win (35/1)
To Place (15/2)


Last year’s Open Champion, Francisco Molinari will be chomping at the bit for his return to Bay Hill. The Ryder Cup hero tied for 17th at the WGC Mexico- which was incidentally only his 2nd start of the season. Despite his relatively small length off the tee, Molinari has been incredibly consistent around Bay Hill in recent weeks. He has three top 5’s in his last five visits here. This is probably owed to his amazing accuracy from the tee box. Molinari should be really energized this week as he aims to repeat some of the heroics of last year’s monumental season. 

Keegan Bradley
To Win (66/1)
To Place (14/1)


Keegan Bradley has got to be the most undervalued player going into this event. He has yet to miss a cut in eight starts this season and he crucially sits 14th in total driving. He finished in an excellent tie for 10th at the WGC Mexico last time out. He has competed at Bay Hill on seven occasions, only missing the cut way back in 2011. He boasts a T3 here in 2013 and a 2nd place finish in 2014. The 2011 PGA Championship winner is a 12 time PGA Tour Champion and he finished 8th in the final FedEx Cup standings last season. 

The Man to Beat

Justin Rose
To Win (12/1)
To Place (26/10)

Rose chose to skip the WGC Mexico and in fact hasn’t teed up since a missed cut at the controversial Saudi International. He has already won this season on tour, with that commanding victory at the Farmers Insurance Open. He has also got course credentials, with two top 5’s in his last 6 trips to Bay Hill. That included a 3rd place finish last season. Rose should be one of the freshest players teeing it up this week. He will also be incentivized by losing his World Number One Ranking to Dustin Johnson. Rose’s stats make for enticing reading this week. He ranks 1st for birdie and scoring average. He is also ranked 4th for shots gained around the green. 

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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