GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Arnold Palmer Invitational | 5th-8th March 2020 | Sky Sports
Over on the PGA Tour, we continue in Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational – a tournament that very much has a prestige feel about it. Since the great man's passing, there has been a ramped up feeling that almost makes is major-like and the names that are here this week reinforce that.
Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood open the market, and to be honest, either can win this and win this well. I'd probably side with Tommy at 14s but on the whole, it's too short for me to get involved so we will start our staking plan further down.
- Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
- Par 72, approx 7,381 yards.
- It's a simple yet challenging course where water, wind and heavy bunkering play some part.
- Doglegged Bermuda fairways, Bermuda greens.
- Easy par 5s, long par 3s.
- Form in Florida key.
- Par 3 & par 5 scoring.
- Birdie conversion.
- Bermuda putting.
- Correlated courses on the PGA Tour – Sawgrass, Augusta, PGA National, Doral while Dubai and DP World Tour may have some significance from the ET too.
- Americans have not won this event in recent times.
Rickie Fowler (35/1 Betfair)
We're getting a nice price on Rickie Fowler this week courtesy of a missed cut at the Honda. He missed an eagle chance from 14ft to make the weekend, so it's not as if he was horribly off the mark. His round 2 was off the charts from a strokes gained iron/putting perspective – no doubt he's been grinding since that early exit to improve.
He's a two-time winner in Florida, which includes the Players at Sawgrass. Fowler has been runner-up at many a major and has gone T14-T12-T3 around here since 2013. He's class player and one that is super cool with the flat-stick and at 35s this is a lovely price compared to some of those around him.
Henrik Stenson (40/1 Betway)
Next up is Henrik Stenson, who was my first bet upon seeing the odds. This is a home game for him around a track that not only he loves but one he continues to thrive at. The Swede has finished T17 or better in seven of the last eight events, which also includes one runner-up and three other top-5 finishes.
He is another who has won the Players and also won or competed at most of the correlated courses mentioned above. His most recent triumph came at the back end of last year at the Hero Challenge, a star-studded field, so he's clearly still got a touch of class about him.
Tyrrell Hatton (50/1 Betfair)
Given the recent trend of Europeans winning around here, I will take a punt on Tyrrell Hatton to clinch his first PGA Tour title as he showed he has recovered from injury with a T6 at WGC Mexico last time out (for him).
He has made the cut in all 3 attempts around here, including a debut fourth, suggesting that his eye fits this course nicely. Hatton has also finished in the top-3 at the DP World Tour and Dubai which is encouraging.
Wyndham Clark (80/1 Betfair)
I'm also going to take a chance on a course debutant, Wyndham Clark. Three straight top-20s all trending upwards catches my eye and having backed him on a few occasions last year we know what he's all about.
Another reliable putter who has played plenty of golf in these parts as a junior throughout his career. Gone well at the Honda in back-to-back years, could follow it up with a decent attempt around Arnie's place.
Maverick McNealy (100/1 SkyBet)
I'll finish with a speculative throw of the dice on a longshot – in reality, any one of Harris English, Patrick Rodgers and Talor Gooch could've been put up but I rate Maverick McNealy's chances a tad more.
The 24-year-old is in red hot form, perhaps a surprise given his three-figure odds. 15th at Torrey Pines is no mean feat whilst T5 at Pebble Beach and T11 last week at the Honda is hugely encouraging.
The American was a young star coming through the junior ranks, matching many a record set by Tiger Woods on his way to becoming world number one amateur. At PGA National last week, his scoring on the par 3s and 5s was superb as was his approach game and scrambling, which suggests he could outperform this 100/1 figure this week – should he keep it up.
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Rickie Fowler (35/1 each-way Betfair
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Henrik Stenson (40/1 each-way Betway
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Tyrrell Hatton (50/1 each-way Betfair
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Wyndham Clark (80/1 each-way Betfair
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Maverick McNealy (100/1 each-way SkyBet