THE big boys are out in force again for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the latest of the $20million super-events on the PGA Tour, with the winner picking up a cool $3.5million.
Open Champion Cameron Smith – down to fifth in the world rankings after his move to LIV – is the only member of the top twenty who will not be teeing it up at Bay Hill.
World No 1 Jon Rahm is, predictably, a warm favourite at a best-priced 13-2 to make it an incredible six wins from his last ten starts.
At just under 7,500 yards Bay Hill favours the big-hitters like Rahm and 2018 winner Rory McIlroy, who has proved his liking for the course by finishing in the top 15 in all but one of his eight starts here.
But with strong winds forecast for the first three days – and a winning score unlikely to reach double digits under par – it could prove more open than the bookies believe.
The Aussie battler has been a personal favourite ever since he popped up at long odds to win the Dubai Desert Classic three years ago, and he will enjoy the tough conditions more than most.
His four under par 68 was the best score of the day in the wind-lashed final round a year ago – Tyrrell Hatton was the only other player to break 70, and at 35-1 the 2020 winner was definitely on the short list as the mid price choice
Herbert finished in a tie for seventh last year, and with the wind forecast to reach 35mph on Friday – and averaging out at around 20mph for the opening 54 holes – , he will fancy his chances of improving on his Bay Hill debut.
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