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Arnold Palmer Invitational

Betting tips: Who to back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

The King won't be there to greet him at the 18th, but who will honour his memory by picking up the trophy at Bay Hill?
 

The one to be on: Henrik Stenson

Rory McIlroy could be a big danger here.

I’ve been impressed with his performances – given he was injured when losing to Graeme Storm in a playoff at the BMW SA Open and led for two rounds in Mexico on his comeback.

That said, he hasn’t shone in two displays at the Arnold Palmer Invitational – finishing 27th and 11th.

Although I’m going broke backing Henrik Stenson, I’m going to give the Swede another chance.

I thought he was going to do the business last week at the Valspar, following his opening round 64. But he stalled over the weekend before finishing tied seventh.

I’m convinced he’s not too far away and it’s his Bay Hill form that compels me to get stuck in at 9/1.

His last four showings are: eighth, fifth, second and third.

You can argue he probably should have won at least one of those. But he keeps getting himself in position and, if that continues, soon enough he’ll get over the top.

The each-way back: Zach Johnson

Arnold Palmer Invitational

A tie for 58th at the WGC-Mexico Championship was nothing to write home about. Outside of a top 10 at the Sony Open and tied-12th at the Phoenix Open, the 2015 Open champion hasn’t stepped up a gear this season.

It’s a brave man, though, who ignores his Arnold Palmer Invitational history. At a course where a fondness for the layout seems quite important – Matt Every anyone? – it’s a surprise to see the former Masters champion as big as 66/1.

Fifth last year and ninth in 2015, Johnson can look back on a series of other strong displays at Bay Hill.

Similarly, Kevin Na – at 70/1 – has also saved some of his better form for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Sixth two years ago, he has not finished lower than 14th in his last three appearances.

He missed the cut last week but encouragement can be found in a tied for fourth at Riviera.

The dark horse: Anirban Lahiri

Arnold Palmer Invitational

If the Indian tightens up his game a touch, he could make odds of 100/1 look a bit silly.

Lahiri made 23 birdies in the Hero Indian Open last week but finished only one-under-par and tied for fifth.

He started the event with rounds of 76 and 73, though, so it was a huge positive how he rebounded.

He has been in decent form both on the European and PGA Tours as he tries to play a dual schedule this season.

Lahiri had a great chance to win the CIMB Classic but faltered with a final 72. He has also recorded top 20s in the RSM Classic and, latterly, the Honda Classic, where he was tied-11th.

Backing up his Indian Open form with a top 10 at the Maybank Championship, I’m optimistic he can rack up another.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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