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Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Preview
The Arnold Palmer Invitational opens up the month of March on the PGA Tour and is the second stop on the Tour’s ‘Florida Swing.’ The API is one of just five events given “invitational” status by the PGA, with a shortened field of 120 players. Tournament play takes place at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, FL.
This week, Bryson DeChambeau won’t be teeing it up to defend his 2021 title. The major champion and eight-time Tour winner hasn’t played since the Sentry Tournament of Champions as he battles hip and hand injuries. DeChambeau’s 11-under last year was one-shot better than runner-up Lee Westwood.
The tournament winner receives 550 FedEx Cup points and $2.16 million of a hefty $12 million purse. A red cardigan sweater is given to the winner in memory of Arnold Palmer, and in 2019 the tournament was added to the Open Qualify Series, giving up to three non-exempt players entry into The Open Championship.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Opening in 1961, the Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a private golf club located southwest of Orlando. Designed by Dick Wilson and built by Bob Simmons, the course is a par-72 that plays 7,466 yards.
The course features water on nearly every hole and puts a premium on finding the fairways. There are 27 holes in total on the property, with the tournament being played in the Challenger/Champion nines.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Field
A loaded field is set to tee it up this week, highlighted by the top-ranked player in the World, Jon Rahm. Current FedEx Cup leader Hideki Matsuyama is in the field. Four of the top-10 players in the world are expected to play.
Past winners in the field include Rory McIlroy, Tyrell Hatton, and Marc Leishman. Will Zalatoris, who played at Wake Forest on the Arnold Palmer Scholarship, returns for his fourth time at the tournament. Zalatoris also won the 2020-21 Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR Rookie of the Year.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Overview
Ball-striking is a premium this week, as finding the fairways is critical. Playing out of the rough at Bay Hill leads to a 30% tougher than average chance of finding the green compared to other Tour courses. Par is okay on this track, with firm and fast greens expected.
Rahm (+750) is the pre-tournament betting favorite and the No. 1 player in the world and has finished T21 or better in his last five starts this season.
McIlroy (+1000) is right behind Rahm, having won this event in 2018. This season, the four-time major champion already has a victory under his belt, winning the CJ CUP @ SUMMIT.
Rounding out the top five pre-tournament favorites are Scottie Scheffler (+1600), Viktor Hovland (+1800), and Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2000).
Scheffler won his maiden PGA Tour tournament at the Phoenix Open and followed that triumph with a T7 at the Genesis Invitational. Hovland took home a victory in the fall at Mayakoba and a T4 his last time out at the Genesis.
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