Golf: PGA Tour – Arnold Palmer Invitational
Venue: Bay Hill Golf Club, Florida
Dates: Thursday 4th – Sunday 7th March 2021
The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of the staple events on the PGA Tour, having first been introduced by Palmer himself back in 1966. It is one of only 5 invitational events on the tour, meaning it has a restricted field of only 120 players. Arnold Palmer won the event back in 1971 and other previous winners include Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. The event has a prize pot of $9.3 million whilst the winner is in line to take home a healthy $1.65 million. With Ryder Cup points to play for and plenty of dollars too, it should be an excellent week at Bay Hill.
The field in Bay Hill is always strong and the usual smattering of big names will be keen to get their hands on the trophy come Sunday:
2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Rory McIlroy starts as the heavy favourite here in Florida. He looked back to his best at times at the WGC at Concession last time out and if he carries that form over, he could be tough to stop.
Few players divide opinion in the same away that 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational runner up Bryson DeChambeau does and his power hitting should see him tear apart this Bay Hill course.
Young Norwegian Viktor Hovland has taken the PGA Tour by storm this season and his superb showing at the WGC last weekend makes him one of the favourites here.
Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton has been a serial winner on the European Tour this season and he looks to be ready to challenge on the PGA Tour more consistently too.
Patrick Reed continues to churn out the results on the PGA Tour, without making too many fans along the way but he should go well in favourable conditions this week.
1st Round Leader
The whole field here in Florida will believe they can get off to a strong start and if they do so they could set themselves up for the week ahead:
Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama continues to put in consistent performances on the PGA Tour and he will be one to watch from the outset here at Bay Hill.
Billy Horschel faded somewhat at the WGC at Concession last week, but his run should fill him with confidence, and he is well suited to the conditions here in Florida.
Charismatic American Max Homa is in the form of his life having won at the Genesis Invitational a fortnight ago and few would bet against him getting off to a flyer here.
Top 10 Finish
With so many good players assembled here in Florida, getting into the winning enclosure could be tough but there are plenty of candidates to finish in the top 10 come Sunday:
Korean superstar Sungjae Im has been in superb form this season, and few would bet against him featuring heavily come Sunday afternoon.
As a former runner up at this event, Justin Rose is sure to be in the mix at Bay Hill and whilst his form hasn’t been great – he looks superb value to finish in the top 10.
American Kevin Kisner continues to put in consistent performances every weekend on the PGA Tour and he should be very much in the mix in an open field at Bay Hill.
BetXChange Best Bets:
Outright Winner: Rory McIlroy – 8.50
1st Round Leader: Hideki Matsuyama – 33.00
Top Ten Finish: Sungjae Im– 1.75