Tiger Woods Favourite For Ninth Success At Favoured Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods heads into the Arnold Palmer Invitational as the favourite to win the tournament for the ninth-time after recapturing some of his old sparkle in a runners-up showing at the Valspar Championship.
Paul Casey may have bagged the win at Palm Harbor - his first on the PGA Tour since 2009 - but it was Woods who grabbed the headlines after proving that he's ticking along nicely ahead of next month's rapidly approaching Masters.
Woods, being Woods, will be desperately disappointed at missing out on his first PGA Tour win in nearly five years - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational - but the 14-time major winner will take a huge dose of confidence following last week's impressive display, as he heads into of one of his most favoured events as the 11/2 frontrunner with Bet365.
The American, who enters into his fifth tournament since his comeback, has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational an astonishing eight times including in his last appearance at the event in 2013 - to put his achievements into perspective no other player has ever won the tournament three times - but while he'll once again be the focal point this week, he is by no means assured of glory.
The tournament will be awash with star names, including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
Leishman will be bidding to become the eighth player to win the tournament twice, and the first to claim back-to-back victories since Matt Every (2014 & 2015), who is way out at 250/1 to capture his third win. Leishman pipped Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman by one shot last time out, and he can now be backed at 40/1 to double up this time around.
McIlroy (18/1) briefly held the lead on the final round last year, but in the end had to settle for 4th, his best finish in the tournament. Jason Day (14/1) won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2016, and while he’s only played twice in 2018, they have been stellar showings: a win at the Farmers Insurance Open and a runners-up spot at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
One man who has yet to triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but has an extremely impressive record, is Henrik Stenson. The Swede has four top-8 finishes in his last five appearances and can be found at 11/4 for another top-10 standing, while he’s available at a tempting 28/1 to sport the coveted red cardigan for the first time in his career.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat could prove to be a tasty bet out at 55/1. The Thai player is in cracking form as he heads to Bay Hill with a fourth European Tour title under his belt, which he claimed at last month’s World Super 6 Perth, plus a T5 at the WGC Mexico Championship earlier this month. And let's not forget that the 28-year-old has two 6th place finishes in two appearances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2015 & 2016). Another player to keep an eye on is Francesco Molinari who is priced at 5/1 to record a fourth top-10 finish in his last five appearances at Bay Hill.
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