Tommy Fleetwood among golfers to watch at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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The PGA Tour continues its Florida swing in Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. While quite a few players are taking this week off to prepare for next week’s Players Championship, there is still a strong field at the top with 2018 tournament champion Rory McIlroy (17/2) leading the way.

McIlroy, T-6 last week at the Concession, has not finished lower than sixth in the last four years at Bay Hill. Viktor Hovland is next at 11/1. Bryson DeChambeau (12/1) has two top-5 finishes here in his last three appearances. Tyrrell Hatton (18/1) is the defending champion of this event. Sungjae Im has finished third here each of the last two years and shares a 22/1 price with Matthew Fitzpatrick, the runner-up here two years ago. Branden Grace finished eagle-birdie last Sunday and won the Puerto Rico Open at 20/1. He is 100/1 at BetMGM.

Here are some players who are worth a wager this weekend.

Tyrrell Hatton (18/1)

We got a winner in this column with Hatton here last year at 60/1. Obviously, the price is much lower, but he is now the OWGR No. 6 player and his price is similar to last week and this is against a weaker field as the defending event champion. Hatton ranks 5th in SG: Ball Striking (Tee+Approach), sixth in SG: Approach and ninth in SG: Putting over the course of the last 24 rounds.

Francesco Molinari (28/1)

After missing much of 2020, Molinari has begun 2021 with three top-10 finishes in his last four events. Last time out at Riviera, he finished Sunday with a 66 to finish T-8. Molinari won at Bay Hill the last time he appeared (2019) and has mustered three other top 10s here since 2014. Now sitting at OWGR No. 91, this is as good a spot as any to play well and make a statement that he wants back on that European Ryder Cup team.

Tommy Fleetwood (40/1)

Here is the other half of the “Moliwood” duo that led the European Ryder Cup team to victory in 2018. Fleetwood has been out of form of sorts lately but has two top 10s here in four starts. Furthermore, he has five top 10s in nine Florida swing starts.

Jason Kokrak
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Jason Kokrak (40/1)

Has three top-10 finishes in his last seven years here. However, he now comes to Bay Hill for the first time as a PGA Tour winner having won the CJ Cup last year against an elite field at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Sam Burns (40/1)

Nearly pulled off the wire-to-wire feat at Riviera two weeks ago before settling for third. He led after each of the first three rounds but could not close the deal on the back nine. He has gained 11.7 strokes putting over eight rounds in the last two years at Bay Hill on the lightning-fast Bermuda greens. He also should be able to take advantage of the Par 5s and rates second on tour over the last 24 rounds for Strokes Gained on the Par 5s.

Aside from Riviera, Burns was in the final group on Sunday at Torrey Pines before faltering. Sometimes a player needs to get close and experience some Sunday pain before getting that first win and Burns has had his fair share of pain in 2021.

Chris Kirk (80/1)

Regained his full PGA Tour playing privileges with a T-2 at the Sony Open earlier this year. He later had top-20 finishes at the American Express and Pebble Beach. He has four finishes of 16th or better in his last seven appearances here.

Wyndham Clark (100/1)

Comes in with some momentum having finished T-8 last time out at Riviera. He is a big hitter that will take advantage of the par 5s and has smooth touch on the greens as indicated by his scrambling and putting stats.

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