The 2019 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Sungjae Im (35/1), won his first career title at the Honda Classic last week in Florida. The 21-year-old South Korean shot a four-under-par round of 66 on Sunday to climb the leaderboard. He was three strokes behind Tommy Fleetwood heading into the final day, but he took advantage of some tough scoring conditions to break through for his first win. Im has a very bright future and will tee it up once again this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The PGA Tour’s Florida swing continues this week, as golfers will tee it up in Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Since 121 players are entered, we can expect a much stronger field. Heavy favorite Rory McIlroy (+500) is atop the betting board, followed by Tommy Fleetwood (+1400), Hideki Matsuyama (+1600), Bryson DeChambeau (+1800), and Adam Scott (+2000). Francesco Molinari (+17500) will attempt to defend his title after winning with a score of 12-under last year.
While we can expect plenty of birdies this week, Bay Hill Golf Club is no easy test. A monster of a course, Bay Hill measures at 7,419 yards long. It is a par 72 and will feature Bermuda greens once again. There are plenty of water hazards, sand traps, and doglegs that make this track especially challenging. Golfers will be forced to use less than driver off the tee and plot their way around the course. A good majority of approach shots this week will be outside of 200 yards, so golfers will need to dialed-in with their irons.
- Strokes Gained: Approach (>200 yards)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking
- Course History
- Par 5 scoring
Best Bets to Win
Bryson DeChambeau (+1800 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Although Rory McIlroy has the best course history at Bay Hill and lines up the best statistically, it’s hard to back the betting favorite at such a low number. For that reason, I will choose to back Bryson DeChambeau this week. DeChambeau is coming in with some scorching-hot form. He has three top-10 performances in his last four outings, including a second at the WGC-Mexico Championship, and a fifth at the Genesis Invitational.
In DeChambeau’s last three outings at Bay Hill, he has a second (2018), a 27th (2016), and a 47th last year. He has the power to take advantage of longer golf courses such as this, and with his added distance off the tee this year, the course should set up nicely for him. DeChambeau is close to regaining the form that won him three PGA Tour titles in 2018. A lot of the scoring this week will come on the Par 5s, and Bryson is top-10 in the field in this department.
Marc Leishman (with top 5 each/way) (+5000 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is a very solid number for a guy who has won the event (2017) and is showing strong recent form. Leishman is a proven winner on Tour, and he has three top-20 finishes in his last five outings at Bay Hill. He is elite with his long irons. Ranking top-10 in both strokes gained: approach from 175-200 yards, and 200 yards plus, Leishman sets up well here. He already won at the Farmers Insurance Championship in January of this year, and I expect another high finish here.