clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Expert Picks

Give me Marc Leishman allllll day long.

PGA: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard - Second Round Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I learned two things from the Honda Classic, it’s going to be a LOOOONG time before I pick Brendan Steele again. A Cinderella ending for a first time PGA winner is wildly entertaining.

Tournament Information

Arnold Palmer Invitational
Date: Mar 7th – 10th
Course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Purse - $8.9MM ($1.6MM to winner)
FedEx points – 500 to winner
2018 Winner: Rory McIlroy (-18)


Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Built by Bob Simmons in 1961, it was Dick Wilson who actually designed the course. This 7,400 yard par 72 is a good mixture with some challenges to get from tee to green. The greens themselves are slightly elevated which stresses good approach shots. A few doglegs run around water with traps accurately placed around the pin on many greens. The Bermuda grass and length stress importance of good accurate Tee and Iron shots. The final three holes, much like Valspar will be a good test to the overall round

PGA: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard-Final Round Kevin D. Liles-USA TODAY Sports

My Starting 4

Henrik Stenson (1st selection this year) – I am cautious with this pick, Henrik has burned me before in this situation. He has three finishes inside the top five over his last four years at Bay Hill. He has made both cuts this season with a 4th place and 54th place finishes. He’s currently 36th in OWGR.

Rory McIlroy (2nd selection this year) — A top three finisher each of the last four years here, Rory also has top five finishes in each of his last four tournaments. He is now 1st in total strokes gained, 1st in strokes gained off the tee and 1st in strokes gained tee to green. Additionally, he is 6th in eagles and 21st in birdie average.

Marc Leishman (1st selection this year) — Currently 7th in FedEx Ranking, Marc has made every cut this season with five of his eight tournaments yielding top five finishes. Add to that he has finished in the top 20 each of the last three years here, Marc should be the favorite.

Justin Rose (1st selection this year) — He did not slow down after winning the FedEx Cup last year. In his four starts this year he has three top five finishes. He comes into Arnold Palmer with top 15 finishes each of the last three years.

My Bench 2

Francesco Molinari (1st selection this year) — He has been in three tournaments this season, he made all three cuts and while he has improved with each tournament, none were top ten finishes. He has top 30 finishes each of the last four years here.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (1st selection this year) — Coming off back to back 7th place finishes in 2015 and 2016, he did not play in 2017 and then missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer last season. His current season is fascinating, here are his last six tournament results: 14th, MC, 33rd, MC, 3rd, MC. High risk, high reward here.

2018 Stats

Starting 4: Avg Finish 41st place (33rd percentile)
Bench 2: Avg Finish 64th place (51st percentile)

Fun Factoid: Tiger Woods (out with injury) won here 8 times. 8.


Who will finish the highest at Arnold Palmer?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Marc Leishman
    (27 votes)
  • 24%
    Justin Rose
    (15 votes)
  • 32%
    Rory McIlroy
    (20 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now