The PGA Tour stays in Florida this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the world-renowned Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando.
A host of the world’s best players have gathered to take part in one of the most popular and prestigious tournaments on the PGA Tour roster.
Tiger Woods returns to defend this year, and he’ll be supremely confident after victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational two weeks ago.
He faces competition from the likes of Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker – who returns after a six-week injury absence.
Bay Hill consistently ranks as one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour, and keeping bogies off your card is the secret to scoring well here.
The bookmakers have installed Woods as the 3/1 favourite, but with such a strong field, I’d be tempted to look elsewhere.
Justin Rose, at 14/1 with Ladbrokes, should challenge for the title this week. He arrives at Bay Hill of the back of 12 consecutive top 25s, including a tie for fourth at the Honda Classic and tie for eight at the WGC-Cadillac. Rose has developed into one of the most consistent performers in the world game, and his record at Bay Hill – where he shared third in 2011 and finished 15th last year – is also impressive.
Bubba Watson, at 25/1 with Labrokes, looks to be coming into some good form ahead of his Masters defence. The Orlando resident came fourth last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and broke par in all four rounds – no mean feat on a tough golf course. He also entered the final round in 2011 tied for third place before a lacklustre closing 78. The big-hitting American played some good golf at the WGC-Cadillac en route to a tie for 18th, and his length off the tee will be advantageous at Bay Hill.
Jim Furyk, at 40/1 with Ladbrokes, is hard to ignore at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He finished seventh last week at the Tampa Bay Championship, where he led the field in Proximity to the Hole. He’s finished inside the top 11 in his last three appearances at Bay Hill, and he currently ranks third on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy and fifth in Proximity to the Hole.
George Coetzee, at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, might be making his debut at Bay Hill, but he’s one to keep an eye on this week. The South African is widely regarded as one of the most talented young golfers in the game and he’s been in terrific form thus far in 2013, notching four top 10s in six starts on the European Tour. He also shared the 54-hole lead last week at the Tampa Bay Championship, and his maiden top-tier victory won’t be far away.
Boo Weekley, at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good each way bet this week. The laid-back American shot through the field at the Tampa Bay Championship with a brilliant final-round 63 to finish alone in second place – his best finish in years. He said after the round he was ‘amazed’ at how well he hit the ball and, encouragingly, Weekley also has three top 25s in six starts at Bay Hill.
Arnold Palmer Invitational advised bets:
2pts each way on Justin Rose at 14/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Bubba Watson at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Jim Furyk at 40/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on George Coetzee at 80/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Boo Weekley at 80/1 with Ladbrokes