The world’s top golfers will head to Bay Hill this week for the 2017 staging of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A cool $8.7 million is at stake for the elite field with the champion grabbing not only 500 FedExCup points but also the $1.566 million top prize. Read on below for an in-depth breakdown of this prestigious tournament and while you’re at it, you can check out our sleeper picks for this popular golf event.
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2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview
Where: Bay Hill Club & Lodge – Orlando, Florida
When: March 16-19, 2017
TV Broadcast: Golf Channel/NBC
Rory McIlroy made a solid return from a rib injury, tying for seventh at the WGC-Mexico Championship. The Ulsterman even flirted with victory, shooting a stunning 65 in the second round to grab the midpoint lead in that tournament. McIlroy will look to keep the momentum going at Bay Hill where he’s never finished outside of the top 30. He is pegged at +650 to win this week.
If there’s one player, though, who can stop McIlroy this week, it’s got to be his fellow European star Henrik Stenson. The reigning British Open champion has been playing some excellent golf of late as well, nabbing top-10 finishes in seven of his last eight starts, including a T7 at last week’s Valspar Championship. He loves playing at Bay Hill, going T8-T5-2nd-T3 in Arnie’s place since 2013. His odds of winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational are priced at +750.
One golfer who can make a strong run at the Arnold Palmer title is Francesco Molinari. The Italian has been playing some outstanding golf of late, finishing in the top-20 in seven of his last eight starts. Bay Hill has been kind to him as well with Molinari finding the top-20 in in each of the last three editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Key to Molinari’s resurgence has been his superb play from tee to green. He is 21st in the PGA Tour in strokes gained in that particular department with an impressive 1.077 clip. That will be a major weapon for Molinari when dealing with the nooks and crannies of this tough Bay Hill course.
Another golfer who’s primed for a good showing this week is Zach Johnson. The American hasn’t missed this event in his storied career, nabbing five top-10s in his 14 appearances here. What makes Johnson such a great pick this week is his excellent play with the putter. He’s 12th in the PGA Tour in strokes gained via putting with an impressive .761 rate. That will come in handy for Johnson when navigating the delicate greens here in Orlando.
Long Shot – Webb Simpson (+10,000)
One long shot who can definitely spring a surprise this week is Webb Simpson. He has finished in the top-41 in three of his last four starts, including a second-place finish at last month’s Phoenix Open. Simpson finished tied for 11th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in 2009.
Henrik Stenson (+750) wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
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