The PGA Tour schedule is full of ebbs and flows. After last week’s lackluster field at the Honda Classic, things ramp right back up on Thursday with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. We’ll be at TPC Sawgrass a week later for THE PLAYERS Championship. And before you know it, we’ll head down Magnolia Lane at Augusta.
Most of the stars skipped the Honda but are back in droves for the API. A whopping 44 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are set to compete at Bay Hill.
Jon Rahm is once again your betting favorite this week at +700, just ahead of Rory McIlroy at +950 and Scottie Scheffler at +1000. The odds jump from there as Max Homa (+2000), Collin Morikawa (+2100), and Will Zalatoris (+2100) round out the top six. Other big fish like Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, and Tony Finau are also under +3000.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational has played as one of the more challenging events on the PGA Tour in recent years. It took double-digits under par to win the event from 2012 to 2019, but the last three winners were Tyrrell Hatton at 4-under, Bryson DeChambeau at 11-under, and Scheffler at 5-under last year.
Do any long shots have what it takes to compete in this high-quality event?
If you bet golf every week you’ll start to notice some patterns. For instance, Kim was one of the darlings in the betting community out of the gates in 2023. In fact, the 20-year-old was a pretty popular pick at half these odds at the WM Phoenix Open.
And that field was also stacked with talent, so it’s not like we should see a massive jump based on the quality of competition. Kim didn’t play particularly well that week or at the Genesis, so now he’s flying under the radar. That gives value-hunters a chance to buy back in at a great price.
It’s been a funny few weeks monitoring Lowry’s odds.
The 2019 Open Champion was in the triple-digits a fortnight ago at Riviera and was the second-favorite at the Honda Classic last week.
Of course, Lowry is a former winner at the Honda, and the field was bereft of talent, but he played well on a challenging track, and all it did was throw him into the mid-range at 65/1. While most of the field will be adjusting from West Coast golf to the Florida Swing, Lowry has four rounds in these conditions already under his belt. He’s a grinder who enjoys himself a challenging course, so he should be able to hang around in what should be a grind.
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Like Lowry, Fleetwood is the type of golfer you want to back in tournaments where the winning score will be closer to even par than 20-under. And it does seem like the native of Merseyside, England loves himself some Florida golf. Fleetwood has 21 top-10 finishes in his career and 33% of those have come in the Sunshine State, including three at this very course.
Fleetwood still hasn’t captured his maiden PGA Tour victory, but he’s performed well in some huge events over his career. This field isn’t too intimidating for the Evertonian.
Another week, another bet on Byeong-hun An. The South Korean is unlikely to win and perhaps just using him as a DFS option, a first-round leader dart or a top-20 play is the more pragmatic wager, but it’s hard to quit Benny An when he’s trending in the right direction.
An has not missed the cut in five starts in 2023 and is coming off a T21 finish at the Honda Classic, where he was hanging around the top-5 heading into Sunday. The Cal alumni has been done in by one poor round in basically every tournament, but he should benefit from having four rounds of Florida golf under his belt.
An was a popular play at +4500 last week, so going back to the well at +20000 doesn’t seem like a bad idea.