Arnold Palmer Invitational: Na can be king of the Hill

American Kevin Na
Kevin Na can win again

After each-way returns at 28/1 and 66/1 with two of his three picks at the Honda Classic last week, Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the action at Bay Hill...

"The last seven winners here all ranked in the top eight for SGP so I want good putters. Kevin Na sits sixth in Strokes Gained: Putting this season and good putting performances have helped him finish T14 at Pebble Beach and T9 at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two of his last three starts."

Main Bet: Kevin Na each-way @ 80/1

While last week's Honda Classic was won in single digits under par for the seventh time in eight years, that hasn't happened at Bay Hill since 2011.

Arnie's course is no pushover but I expect a different cast-list to step forward than the one who battled hard at PGA National last week.

While ball-striking was at a premium last week (winner Sungjae Im ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green), prowess on the greens is much more of a requirement at Bay Hill.

So while Im could afford to be 38th in SG: Putting at PGA National and still win the trophy, he'd be left behind with a repeat putting performance here.

Starting with Tiger's eighth win at Bay Hill in 2013, the SG: Putting rank of the winner of the Arnold Palmer has been 1st (Tiger), 3rd (Matt Every), 8th (Matt Every), 6th (Jason Day), 2nd (Marc Leishman), 1st (Rory McIlroy) and 4th (Francesco Molinari).

To summarise, the last seven winners all ranked in the top eight for SGP.

So, I want good putters and I'll start with Kevin Na.

The American sits sixth in Strokes Gained: Putting this season and good putting performances have helped him finish T14 at Pebble Beach and T9 at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two of his last three starts.

This is Bermuda of course rather than Poa but he's gained over 2.4 strokes with the blade in two of his last three starts in Florida and using the old measure of Putting Average - as that's all we have when going back to some of his early exploits at Bay Hill - shows that Na has putted the Bay Hill greens well.

He's previously ranked third and fourth for the week at this track and his impressive course record shows a second, a fourth, a sixth and two other top 15s.

"Overall it fits my eye pretty well and I've been very happy coming here," he said a few years back.

Of course, backing Na these days doesn't just mean we're chasing the each-way money.

After just one win in Vegas (2011) to show for a lengthy career, Na doubled his tally with a victory in 2018 and doubled it again with two more victories in 2019.

Given all that, he looks well worth a punt at 80/1 to walk in some putts and claim another.

Next Best: Wyndham Clark each-way @ 80/1

Wyndham Clark posted tied eighth at the CJ Cup earlier in the season but had a pretty rough time around that, missing six cuts.

But the 26-year-old from Colorado has really stepped it up since the turn of the year.

After T34 in Phoenix, he took tied 18th at Pebble Beach, improved again to tied 17th in the Genesis Invitational and kept the progression going with tied 11th in last week's Honda Classic where he closed with a 66.

It was no surprise he did well there as his previous best result on the PGA Tour had also come in Florida when he led after 54 holes of last year's Honda Classic before dropping back to tied seventh with a 72.

That Sunday 66 there this time was a nice contrast and he ranked 11th for SG: Putting.

Clark is 12th on the season-long Strokes Gained: Putting stats so is exactly what we're looking for at Bay Hill and he's gained over 16 strokes on the greens over his last four starts.

Speaking about the state of his game at the Honda, Clark said: "It's definitely growing a lot. I've played a lot of good golf, and those finishes really don't really show how good I've played because I was leading some of those or I was in second in some of them.

"You know, I'm continuing to grow in my game, and I hope that I continue to play well and start taking it to the weekend."

He also added this line about PGA National: "It's funny, it really doesn't suit my game. I just played a lot here growing up. Tons of junior events, so I've seen the course a lot."

That tells us he's played lots of Florida golf and maybe Bay Hill, where he's making his pro debut, will suit him more.

Let's find out with a punt at 80/1.

Final Bet: Harris English each-way @ 80/1

Harris English was a popular pick at the Honda Classic last week and seemed to be justifying the faith when sharing the first-round lead.

He dipped a little in the middle but came back with a Sunday 68 to post T17 and record his second straight top 20 after T16 in Phoenix.

Add in the four top six finishes he recorded before Christmas and he's got plenty of recent good form under his belt.

The main turnaround in his game has been ball-striking and he was again solid in that department at both the Honda and Waste Management.

But the putter was strong too, Harris ranking 13th for SG: Putting after finishing 18th in that category at TPC Scottsdale in Phoenix.

His Bay Hill record is somewhat patchy but he was tied 22nd in 2018, made the cut again last year and was also T14 in 2014 and T29 in 2015.

There's a positive spin to be put on that and he gave us a useful update on his game after the opening 66 at the Honda.

"Getting off to a good start in the fall was really nice," said English. That'll take the pressure off.

"I've been grinding the last few years, been grinding out the Top 125. Haven't hit it my best, but really put a lot of work in last year, and the results have come, and it's been awesome.

"I know that I don't have to go and hit balls for two hours after the round trying to find it. I know it's in there. I've put a lot of work in last week, had a couple weeks off so I feel fresh."

English was second after 36 holes at Bay Hill in 2015 and, in his current form, he may just be able to keep it going for all 72 this time.

Again, he's an 80/1 chance.

As for the front end of the market, I feel last week suited many of them better than this week.

I'm a little reluctant to have an all-American staking plan as Europeans do well here and, if picking one, I'd go for Matt Fitzpatrick at 40s.

If he was putting well, I'd get him on board but the stats say he isn't.

Staked: £604
Returned: £486.26
P/L: -£117.74

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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