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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Koepka to seal return to form

| 18.03.2015

With these pages picking the winner of the last two editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the pressure is most certainly on to produce the goods as the PGA Tour finishes its “Florida Swing” at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Florida.

Matt Every landed a 66/1 tip for our author in the 2014 tournament, while Tiger Woods claimed his eighth win in the event 12 months prior for another celebrated, if slightly more predictable, punt.

With Every now a 150/1 chance in 2015 and Woods not part of the field new pastures must be sought if the Arnold-Palmer hot streak is to continue.

What can be gleaned from those two victories, along with the numerous others there have been since the tournament’s 1966 inception, is that prior course form is key.

Every had finished in the top 10 twice in his previous three Bay Hill starts before storming to success, while the sheer weight of victories Woods accrued over the years suggests this Orlando course rewards returning golfers.

An easier course than last year – thanks to widened fairways, larger greens and new sand in the traps to prevent plugged lies – aggressive players are also taking our interest here.

Two such players sit at 10/1 apiece in the betting market.

Bubba Watson, who withdrew from last year’s tournament, is yet to finish out of the top 15 this year and was solo third last time out.

Henrik Stenson has never missed a cut at Bay Hill and has finished in the top 10 in his last two appearances there. Fourth-place finishes in his last two starts on tour certainly warrant respect, but we’ve decided to chase the value with a longer-price selection.

33/1-shot Brooks Koepka finished T26 in his one and only start in the Arnold Palmer last year and has seen his form tail off slightly since starting the season with results of T8-T4-1.

However, a tie for 17th in his last start suggests he is approaching peak performance again and his top-five standings in both driving distance and scoring average should help him confirm that fact with a Bay Hill win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.