This week the best players in the world will be teeing it up at the beautiful and historic Bay Hill Club and Lodge for theArnold Palmer Invitational. We correctly selected Martin Laird (2011) here and will look to pick up another winner this week at a one of the more prestigious non majors of the year.
Bay Hill is a Par 72, 7400 yard beast of a course. Historically one of the more difficult stops on the PGA Tour, Bay Hill will force the players to be at their best this week. Arnold Palmer is the figure head of this beautiful course and it is exactly the design he loves. Players will have the opportunity to blast their tee shots at some accessible fairways. Length will be a key this week but the players will also have to be hitting fairways and Greens in Regulation. Arnold Palmer has bunkers placed perfectly to eat up golf balls off drives and on the player’s approaches. With 103 bunkers around the course you will be hard pressed to find a player who does not spend some time in the beach this week.
The Course record is shared by Greg Norman (1984) and Andy Bean (1981) who both posted blistering 62’s. The course has been lengthened by 300 yards since then, but the players also hit the ball much further now. If you are looking for a hole in one to take place this week be sure to watch the 2nd and the 17th. Over the years, 9 out of the 13 recorded hole in ones have come on these two holes.
The 18th hole is by far the most difficult at Bay Hill. For someone to take the title this week they will have to maneuver around this daunting Par 4. It will be playing 458 yards this week and every player will be faced with some nerves on their approach. The fairway is large, straight, and wide open for the players to hit. A large water hazard protects the green and is on the right side of the fairway. Three bunkers to the back of the kidney shaped green will eat up plenty of golf balls this week. The players who do find these bunkers are then faced with a downhill chip shot with water just past the edge of the green. Expect to see some interesting scores on this difficult hole.
We have 4 of the world’s Top 10 golfers in the field this week (Tiger Woods – 2nd, Brandt Snedeker – 4th, Justin Rose – 5th, and Phil Mickelson – 10th). Snedeker returns from a rib injury this week, as he hasn’t played since his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Tiger Woods will be defending his championship this week, winning last year by 5 strokes. He has dominated Bay Hill in his career but offers absolutely zero value at 2.7 to 1. Look for the other players to step up their game and contend with Woods this weekend.
Outright Winner Picks
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I will give out one free pick that has been sent to members, like I have been doing pretty much every week…
RICKIE FOWLER 65 TO 1 – Fowler has really impressed me this season and I can see him winning very soon. He has three Top 13 finishes in his 5 stroke play starts. Fowler appears to be confident in all facets of his game, something crucial this week at Bay Hill. He is extremely accurate off the tee, as he hits nearly 65% of his fairways (ranking him 28th on Tour). Fowler also ranks 33rd on Tour for Total Putting and 34th for Sand Save Percentage. Rickie has only competed at the Arnold Palmer event twice and finished T50 and T30. The T30 came in 2011 and featured a final round 78, which really hurt because he finished 8 shots behind the eventual winner. Fowler may have crumbled after starting the final round tied for 5th, but this occurred before he had won on the PGA Tour. Last season it took a large weight off Rickie’s shoulders when he won at The Wells Fargo Championship. Look for Fowler to take yet another step from stardom to superstardom this week.
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