Preview – PGA Tour – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard – Bay
Hill Club & Lodge – Orlando, Florida –
The PGA Tour’s Florida Swing reaches Orlando this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge hosts the event with the King, of course, Arnold Palmer greenside. Matt Every comes in – again – as an underdog. The two-time defending champion has struggled for nearly a year heading into his defense this week.
The field includes the hottest player in the game — Adam Scott. Aussie has back-to-back victories and a runner-up ahead of Bay Hill. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are all Top 10 players in the field.
Nearing its 40th year on tour, the Arnold Palmer Invitational features a par-72 layout at more than 7,400 yards, including No. 17 and No. 18 as two of the most difficult holes on tour. The course’s par-3s should challenge the world’s best players, but the layout is known as a “second-shot” design placing a premier on greens in regulation (GIR).
The course tests talent, evidenced by only a small hand full of “longer shots” winning here in the last 15 years including Every who was a 175-1 long shot.
- Every (19-under) fired a 66 in the final round to edge Stenson by a shot and Matt Jones by two strokes. Charley Hoffman was alone in fourth place, while Ben Martin rounded out the Top 5. Every opened the week 96th in the world rankings and as a long-shot to defend his title.
FANTASY: Take Horses For Courses at Bay Hill. Traditionally rewards its regulars like Stenson (three straight Top 10s here), Every and Jason Kokrak, who was T-6 in 2015 and 4th in 2014. Tiger Woods (not playing) is an 8-time champion here. Take Scott with the form he is showing. He also has the course record here with a 62.
BETTORS: McIlroy (5-to-1) is the betting favorite in Las Vegas at Silverton Casino. He was the 54-hole leader two weeks ago before finishing T-3 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Consider Stenson’s 12-1 and take a flier on Jones at 75-1. Although not in great form, Jonas Blixt might be in the mix Sunday and at 100-1 payoff.
Golf Channel has the television coverage all week, while NBC Sports brings home the leaders in the third and fourth rounds. Weather is expected to be perfect in the Orlando area but storms could pop up with temperatures in the low 80s with light winds.
Other Golf News:
- Republican front-runner for Presidents of the United States Donald J. Trump mentioned Scott and his victory at Trump National Doral during his primary victory speech in Florida Tuesday night.
- The European Tour hosts the Hero Indian Open this week featuring Padraig Harrington, Anirban Lahiri and recent tour winners Scott Hend and Marcus Fraser.
- The featured morning wave group at Bay Hill includes Scott, Stenson and Brandt Snedeker teeing off at 8:11 a.m. local time.
- Hyo Joo Kim, who won the LPGA Tour season opener in the Bahamas, opens defense of her title this week at the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix. She plays with Amy Yang and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open champ Haru Nomura in round one Thursday.