The Florida swing continues this week with The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill just outside of Orlando.
We won’t see the same quality of field as the last couple of tournaments with The Players looming next week but there will still be a host of big names on show.
Course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Length: 7400 yards (Par 72)
Architect: Dick Wilson
Bay Hill is the course on tour where the players hit most 200+ yard approaches so a good long iron game is essential to contend this week.
It helps to be long, but it is not a necessity to be an absolute bomber as four of the last six winners have ranked outside of the top 50 in driving distance in the year that they won.
With long par 3s, some though 4s and three of the four 5s being over 550 yards good scrambling will also be an important quality and being a par 72 we will have four par 5s so par 5 scoring should also be taking into consideration this week.
The greens are big, fast and some of the purest Bermuda greens on tour, so with moderate winds the first three days before it is supposed to get windy on Sunday, I see the winning score just around the double digit under par mark.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Strokes gained off the tee
- Proximity 200+ yards
- Bermuda putting
- Par 5 scoring
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 118 units
Won: 234.42 units
Result: 116.42 units
Outright winners: Waste Management – Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational – Max Homa 56-1
Casey was the only healthy player that qualified for last week’s WGC that did not play so he should come into this week refreshed as the Englishman has started the year red hot with four consecutive top 12 finishes including a win in Dubai against a strong field.
He has not played this tournament in some years, but the course should set up well for a guy who has won twice in the last three years on another challenging Florida course (Valspar) and who ranks 2nd in the field with his long irons.
After starting to get a reputation as a guy who does not win anymore a few years ago Casey now has four wins over the past couple of years and could very well add a fifth this week.
We were on Max’s win two weeks ago and I anticipated somewhat of a comedown at last weeks WGC, but after being off with his irons in the first round he quickly got back to what had gotten him not only the win but a strong start to the year gaining a stroke per round on approach and in the end his first WGC ended with a respectable T22.
Over the past month he ranks in the top 25 in all four facets of the game: Off the tee, approach, around the green and putting. And if we break it down a little further, he is 5th from 200+ yards and 1st in par 5 scoring.
Yes, there is always a chance for a belated reaction to his win but the number we are getting are simply way too good to pass up.
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