Written By Robert Cobley - 26th February 2020
Bet UK Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Preview
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge - Bay Hill, Orlando, Florida - Par 72, 7381 Yards
The PGA Tour heads north once again this week and to the suburbs of Orlando for one of the most prestigious events of the season; The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Bay Hill is a famed track in the US, most notably through associations with the great man who passed away in 2016. The course itself is a 7,381 yard par 72 comprised of bermuda grass and fairways. The course is recognisable in that almost all holes are dog legs, and well protected with 85 bunkers, and water in play on 9 holes. The key to success at Bay Hill has often been great putting with past multiple winners including the likes of Tiger Woods, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw and Matt Every.
All of the par 5s at Bay Hill are birdie opportunities, and it is them that keep the scoring so low each year at an otherwise challenging venue. The par 3s, including the 17th are all notably tough holes, and the winner this week will need to perform well in terms of par 3 scoring, scrambling around the greens, and there is also a strong correlation with players that have traditionally performed well elsewhere on the Florida swing.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
Rory McIlroy (5/1) who won here convincingly back in 2018 leads the field coming into this week as the countdown to the Masters begins in earnest. Rory has a fantastic record at Bay Hill having posted finishes of 4th and 6th either side of that win on a course that ideally suits the Northern Irish shotmaker. Bay Hill produces only the best of winners, and generally great putters prevail here on the bermuda greens. It might be cruel to say that Rory has bucked that trend given that his strengths generally lie in his long game, but he is capable of overpowering much of this course, and is set to be right in contention once again this week. England's Tommy Fleetwood (14/1) came so close last week at the Honda Classic, and he has two top 10 finishes in his three visits to Bat Hill, making the market support understandable. Fleetwood has an excellent game and his pure ball striking suits the bermuda greens and fairways that are present both here and at PGA National where he contended last week. For me the price is a little skinny for a player that has never won in the US, but I would expect a solid top 20 from Fleetwood once again here
Bryson Dechambeau (16/1) has three consecutive top 5s including two runner up finishes in his last three events, and the American who finished 2nd to Mcilroy in 2018 arrives as the third favourite. Bryson is a classical player in the mould of Mcilroy, and another great ball striker. His performance at the WGC in Mexico where he came agonisingly close was on a far less suitable course, and I feel that he will go very close this week. Hideki Matsuyama (16/1) has been playing some solid golf under the radar this season with back to back top 10 finishes in his last two PGA Tour starts. Hideki has made all five cuts when he has appeared here, but only once managed a finish inside the top 20. I feel he is coasting towards a challenge at Augusta, and perhaps The Players Championship next week, and I don't think that Bay Hill suits him as much as some of the other contenders in the field this week.
Rob’s Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
Sungjae Im finally fulfilled his substantial promise by taking the Honda Classic last week in impressive style, and the young Korean seems primed for a career in the top echelons of the PGA Tour. Im has one of the best long games on Tour, and has finished in the top 5 for strokes gained tee to green in five of his last six events on Tour. A quite staggering statistic. That consistency is exactly what is required around the sometimes treacherous layout at Bay Hill, and with his successful transition to putting on bermuda grass last week which mirrored the effect it had in 2019, Sungjae must be one of the leading contenders again this week.
Last year at Bay Hill, Im lead eventual winner Francesco Molinari going into the final round, but a closing 68 wasn't sufficient to halt the Italian's charge as he posted a stunning 64 to take the title by three strokes ahead of the South Korean. With the course such a comprehensively good fit, and with a win now under his belt, I expect Im to kick on with real confidence and cannot rule out the possibility of him going back to back with consecutive Tour wins. I will therefore be backing him with 2 points e/w at 25/1.
The closest challenge to Im last week came in the form of his fellow South Korean Byeong Hun An. An started the week with an opening six over par 77, but produced an incredible fightback to finish just two shots off the lead after three days of high quality golf. That finish was An's second top 10 in his last three starts, and he also has previous for playing well at Bay Hill having finished in the top 20 for each of the last two years. In 2019, An opened again with a couple of poor rounds, but closed 69, 68 to finish inside the top 10 having come in with no discernible form. With his link to rowing up on bermuda grasses in Korea, and how comfortable he looked closing last week, An is also worth a bet for me, and I recommend 1 point e/w at 40/1.
Following a rolling profit of 463 points in 2019, I am looking for an even better 2020. Each week I will pick between 2 to 4 selections at each event on the European and PGA Tours, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||-69 points|
|PGA Tour||+66 points|
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