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David Thompson 20th Mar 2012 - 20:32

Tiger 8/1 to make it seven at Bay Hill


The Arnold Palmer Invitational


Thursday 12:00 - live on Sky Sports 3 from 19:00


The 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational will act as one of the final warm-up events for the World's best players on the USPGA Tour as they prepare for the year's first Major; The Masters. The tournament is being held at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida with a million dollar pay-out up for grabs to the eventual winner. Scotland's Martin Laird scooped the prize last year and will be attempting to defend in 2012 against a star studded field.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is one of very few invite only tournaments on the Tour and they will be delighted with the inclusion of 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods, who was a doubt due to his Achilles injury. He heads the betting at 8/1 and although not in the form of his life, the fact that he has won this event six times helps justify the odds for arguable the best player that golf has ever seen.

In the three tournaments he's finished this year he hasn't finished outside the top 20, and with Bay Hill being one of his favourite haunting grounds fans will be delighted if he can post some big numbers in Orlando.

Returned to a par 72 in 2010 Bay Hill represents one of the toughest tracks on Tour, however with weather expected to be settled this week and with many of the players having participated in the three previous tournaments in Florida, we can expect birdies and some low scores. With long hitting an added bonus with the open and forgiving fairways this could be a fantastic week for Bubba Watson.

The American looked relaxed and was in the mood to birdie everything at the Tavistock Cup where he represented Isleworth. He took a week off following his solo second at the WGC-Cadillac, his ninth consecutive top 20 worldwide, and leads the Tour in both distance off the tee and greens in regulation. 33/1 appears to be generous odds and I would expect Bubba to get off to a fast start in Florida which would explain the 22/1 about First Round Leader.

In his six events in 2012 Justin Rose has won the WGC Cadillac, made all six cuts and had 2 top-ten finishes. The Englishman is loving his golf in the US and has emerged as a real force on the USPGA Tour. Joint third favourite with Webb Simpson, 16/1 looks a fair price on the four-time Tour winner but my money would be on the 5/2 available about him being the Top European this week.

Webb Simpson narrowly missed out in 2011 to Luke Donald for the Money List crown, however his early season charge could see him challenging for that title once again this year. The American has three top 10 finishes this year and has never missed a cut in his seven starts at Bay Hill. A proven performer on Tour, 27/20 looks a safe bet for Simpson to finish in the top 10 in Orlando.

One more name to look out for is Bo Van Pelt. At 25/1 the American is in fine form and looked relaxed at the Tavistock Cup. He's never missed a cut at Bay Hill Club & Lodge and has finished inside the top 10 in four of his last five starts on the PGA Tour. He may only have the one USPGA Tour win to his name but this could be his best chance of adding a second to his honour's list.

Top Bets:

Justin Rose: 5/2 Top European

Bubba Watson: 22/1 First Round Leader

Webb Simpson: 16/1 Tournament Winner

Bo Van Pelt: 25/1 Tournament Winner




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