Bay Hill Preview: All The King's Men
by Colin Brennan, Top Market Sports
Seemingly one of everyone’s favorite stops of the season, the Tour makes the short drive from Tampa to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The King made Bay Hill Club & Lodge iconic, and the strength of the field over the years has added to the aura of the event. Marc Leishman is the reigning champion, but the biggest story is obviously Tiger (Big Cat) Woods making his return to an event that he's dominated in the past. He returns in good form, fresh off a runner-up finish last week at the Valspar. The course is renowned as classic layout and stretches just over 7400 yards. It features a closing stretch with water in play on each of the final three holes. The 18th at Bay Hill has produced some incredible finishes over the years. And with 5 of the top 10 in the world in the field this week, there should be no lack of theatrics on Sunday afternoon. While everyone seems to be eyeing Tiger to get back in the winner's circle this week, let’s take a look at some horses a bit further down the odds sheet:
Henrik Stenson (30/1) - Stenson is coming off a missed cut in Tampa, but it’s hard to see past his value at this number. Although recent form may scare people off, he’s finished 8th or better in 4 of his last 5 starts at Bay Hill.
Emiliano Grillo (65/1) - Grillo finished 7th here last season, and 17th in his first start at Bay Hill in 2016. He played well at the Honda a few weeks ago, so he obviously has no problem with Bermuda grass. He’s also 29th in driving accuracy to this point, and 13th in greens in regulation.
Zach Johnson (75/1) - The two-time major champion from Iowa is playing sneaky good golf right now. He finished 16th last week in Tampa, and has seven top 25’s in his last eight events. He also has three top 10 finishes in his last 6 starts at Arnie's tournament.
Kevin Chappell (75/1) - Chappell is a former runner up here and has two top 10’s in his last seven starts. He’s great off the tee and seems primed to deliver the second win of his career on the big tour.
James Hahn (100/1) - Hahn is one of the best ballstrikers on the PGA Tour, in the top 50 in seemingly every category. Since the calendar flipped, his worst finish is a T45 and he hasn’t finished worse than T26 in his last 3 times out.
Scott Piercy (100/1) - The Vegas local is leading the tour in strokes gained approach, and 10th in strokes gained tee to green. His last two starts produced a T20 at Pebble and a T17 at the Honda. His recent work with up-and-coming instructor Jeff Smith (@radargolfpro on Instagram) seems to be paying dividends.