Arnold Palmer Invitational First-Round Leader Tips: Jones can jump out of the traps

Australian Matt Jones
Australian Matt Jones can get off to a flyer

The PGA Tour stays in Florida for the WGC Arnold Palmer Invitational and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Bay Hill...

"He's a healthy 35th in R1 scoring on the PGA Tour and his last two openers have both been 67s. They put him fourth after 18 holes at the Genesis Invitational and 11th after following the opening day at Pebble Beach."

Back Matt Jones E/W @ 90/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Thursday: There are sunny skies over Bay Hill on day one. It's a rather cool start with temperatures only in the high 50s for the early starters although by 10.30am it should be mid-60s before rising into the early to mid 70s by 1pm and onwards. Winds are fairly modest at around 8-9mph all of the golfing day.

First-round leader history:

2020 - 65 Matt Every
2019 - 65 Rafa Cabrera Bello
2018 - 64 Henrik Stenson
2017 - 67 Emiliano Grillo, Matt Fitzpatrick
2016 - 66 Jason Day
2015 - 66 Morgan Hoffman
2014 - 62 Adam Scott
2013 - 65 Justin Rose
2012 - 66 Jason Dufner, Charlie Wi

Strategy: Europeans and internationals have a great record in terms of winning this event. But they also seem to thrive on day one.

Make it Matt

Aussie Matt Jones is playing some strong golf this season and has made his last 10 cuts on the PGA Tour.

That run includes a fourth at the Bermuda Championship, eighth on his latest start at Riviera and 11th at the Sony Open.

He's a healthy 35th in R1 scoring on the PGA Tour and his last two openers have both been 67s. They put him fourth after 18 holes at the Genesis Invitational and 11th after following the opening day at Pebble Beach.

As for course form, it's fairly handy too. Two of his last four appearances at Bay Hill show a third in 2015 and a 14th in 2014 while he was also ninth after 54 holes last year before being blown off course in the final round.

He's an industry-best 90/1 and will probably get the best of the conditions from his 12:02pm tee-time.

NeSmith to start fast? I'm a believer

Matthew NeSmith did us a big 200/1 each-way favour when finishing seventh in Phoenix and the American remains in impressive form.

He's followed that up with a pair of top 20s: a 16th at Pebble Beach and a 20th at Riviera.

Rewinding back to Phoenix, he was actually the first-round leader at TPC Scottsdale thanks to an opening 63 so I'm hoping for a repeat performance here.

NeSmith missed the cut on his Bay Hill debut last year but scratch a little and you'll find that he was in the top 20 on the leaderboard after day one.

In his current form he can improve on that and, again, he's an industry-best price, this time 95/1.

The 27-year-old from South Carolina is in the penultimate group out from the 10th at 13:08 local.

Grab a piece of Grillo

Weather is an inexact science so I don't mind playing an early starter just in case.

The one I like is Argentina's Emiliano Grillo.

The South American seems to be a bit of a first-round specialist at Bay Hill. In four appearances his end-of-Thursday position reads: 7-1-13-19.

His day one lead came in 2017 when he shared the low score of the day with England's Matt Fitzpatrick.

Ahead of his return, Grillo is coming of 11th place at the Puerto Rico where he rounded his week off with a 65.

Looking at some of his R1 scores this year, he has a 64 and four 66s. Overall, he ranks 22nd in first-round scoring.

The 07:11 starter (10th) is again industry-best at 100/1.

Dave's First Round Leader P/L

Staked: £240
Returned: £91.87
P/L: -£148.13

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