Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Arnold Palmer Invitational - 2013

The PGA Tour serves up yet another quality tournament this week when Arnold Palmer hosts at Bay Hill, Florida. Tiger Woods defends this week on a course he simply loves. Tiger is gunning for his eighth victory here, a feat that will match Sam Sneads record of winning the same title 8 times. Tiger loves breaking records ! Tiger is 3/1 favourite this week, and why not? So then, a short write up this week ? Well it could be if you strongly fancy Tiger to win but thanks to some bookies, we can avail of the betting w/o Tiger market which I firmly believe is the better way to go here this week. Whether Tiger does win or lose there is still value in this market due to a very strong field.

Whilst looking over the field for this week, I found it tough to actually look further down the betting market than the top 10 or 15 with the exception of one. This is a tough par 72, where an excellent tee to green game is required. On top of that, past results also show that a hot putter is required. My first two picks meet the first part no problem at all but one of these is a bit lacking in the putting department. That said he is not as bad as most critics would want us all to believe and his recent Major results the past few seasons assure me that he can certainly contend in these top events. Up first is Lee Westwood @ 28/1. Westy has not a great record here and is visiting Bay Hill for the first time in 5 years. Of all players on tour,if asked who would I rate as the best, most consistent driver, I would opt for Lee Westwood. And if he fufils my expectations with the driver this week, there is every chance he can stay patient and get across the winning line. Patience is a requirement on this course, ranked as one of the toughest on tour.

The second pick is Jason Dufner who excels off the tee and in approach play. Slow to get going this season, he showed signs last week that he is beginning to click into gear. Although he has not had a great record here over the years he did have a top 15 finish last year. This may be a big week for Dufner with the Masters looming and a lack of success so far on tour in 2013, so he should be keen to assess his game. I am expecting a real good performance from him. Again in the w/o Tiger market, he can be backed at 33/1

The shortlist also listed Hunter Mahan,Bubba Watson,Webb Simpson,Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson. Hunter Mahan should have won for the blog a few weeks back at Riviera, and looked like defending his WGC Matchplay title but lost in the final to Matt Kuchar also. This recent form cannot be ignored either and over the past couple of seasons has shown that he is a player for the big events.Mahan has recorded 6 top 25s this season. Like Westwood, he will be patient on a demanding course and should be up there challenging. 33/1 in the w/o Tiger market is great value.

My final pick is an outside fancy in the shape of Swede, Henrik Stenson @ 100/1 (w/o Tiger) with Paddypower.He played recently in Puerto Rico without really contending but had shown some consistency towards the end of 2012 (winning in South Africa). He should be fresh enough and eager to do well here as he currently sits 58 in the OWGR. If he can move up 8 places he will be at Augusta in 3 weeks time.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w Lee Westwood @ 28/1 w/o Tiger Betpack   StanJames

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Jason Dufner @ 33/1 w/o Tiger Boylesports

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w Hunter Mahan @ 33/1 Boylesports

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w Henrik Stenson @ 100/1 Paddypower

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