THE big boys are out in force again for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the latest of the $20million super-events on the PGA Tour, with the winner picking up a cool $3.5million.
Open Champion Cameron Smith – down to fifth in the world rankings after his move to LIV – is the only member of the top twenty who will not be teeing it up at Bay Hill.
World No 1 Jon Rahm is, predictably, a warm favourite at a best-priced 13-2 to make it an incredible six wins from his last ten starts.
At just under 7,500 yards Bay Hill favours the big-hitters like Rahm and 2018 winner Rory McIlroy, who has proved his liking for the course by finishing in the top 15 in all but one of his eight starts here.
But with strong winds forecast for the first three days – and a winning score unlikely to reach double digits under par – it could prove more open than the bookies believe.
Hots hot: Scottie Scheffler, 9-1.
The defending champion did not seem too inconvenienced when the wind picked up in the final round last year, adding weight to his claim that it blows harder and more often in his home state of Texas.
On a day when only four of the 77 players who made the cut broke par, Scheffler’s composed level par 72 was enough to get the job done, giving him the second of four victories by the start of April.
That included the Masters, and Scheffler has already successfully defended one title, with his Phoenix Open victory three weeks ago. He has a great chance of going back-to-back again.
Mid price: Keith Mitchell, 50-1.
The Chattanooga express finally broke into the top fifty of the world rankings with an impressive fifth place at the Genesis, and he has the talent to remain on an upward trajectory.
That Genesis effort was his second top five in his last three starts – he was tied fourth at Pebble Beach – and two top tens at Bay Hill are further cause for encouragement.
Mitchell leads the PGA Tour in combined driving, the stat that pairs length and accuracy, and that could prove crucial in a week when hitting fairways will be no picnic.
Long shot: Lucas Herbert, 125-1.
The Aussie battler has been a personal favourite ever since he popped up at long odds to win the Dubai Desert Classic three years ago, and he will enjoy the tough conditions more than most.
His four under par 68 was the best score of the day in the wind-lashed final round a year ago – Tyrrell Hatton was the only other player to break 70, and at 35-1 the 2020 winner was definitely on the short list as the mid price choice
Herbert finished in a tie for seventh last year, and with the wind forecast to reach 35mph on Friday – and averaging out at around 20mph for the opening 54 holes – , he will fancy his chances of improving on his Bay Hill debut.
Golf betting offers
Paddy Power: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
Betfair: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
Max £/€20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.Org
Sky Bet: Get £20 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
New customers only. First single and E/W bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply. 18+. Begambleaware.org
William Hill: Bet £10 and get £30 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Ladbrokes: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply Begambleaware.org
Coral: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply. 18+ T&Cs Apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.