Arnold Palmer Invitational: Three to play in the First Round Leader market

Francesco Molinari
Francesco Molinari does enjoy putting on Bermuda
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The dream team of Dave Tindall, Steve Rawlings and Paul Krishnamurty take over on FRL duties for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and they recommend the following trio...

"Having finished no worse than 17th in the last four Bay Hill renewals, three of which yielded top-nines, there's every reason to believe he can do so again. With little wind forecast for day one scoring is bound to be low, making a confident touch on Bermuda greens imperative."

Paul Krishnamurty says: Back Francesco Molinari @ 50/1

*EW Terms: 1/4 Odds | 5 Places

Steve Rawlings says: Back Bubba Watson @ 40/1

Bubba Watson is a mercurial character and there isn't a venue played that doesn't highlight his unpredictability better than Bay Hill. It was in this event in 2014 that he withdrew after shooting an 11-over-par 83 in the opening round, which included an 11 at the par five sixth hole! He cited allergies as the cause of his withdrawal then rolled up at Augusta next time out and won the US Masters for a second time.

As is typical with the wildly unpredictable Bubba, there have also been three missed cuts here but there have also been renewals in which Watson has shown that he has exactly the right game for the venue. In ten previous visits, his best finishes are an eighth ten years ago and a fourth in 2012 and he's sat inside the top-seven places after round one on three previous occasions.

Now fighting fit and playing with a proper ball, having ditched the colourful Volvik, he's already a winner this year and he's a force to be reckoned with once more. He hit the front during the opening round at the WGC-Mexico Championship last time out, when he raced to seven-under-par through 11 holes, before a bizarre finish saw him sit tied for 13th after 18 and in his previous three starts he finished the first day within three of the lead so he's been starting fast of late.


Paul Krishnamurty says: Back Francesco Molinari @ 50/1

On the European Tour, especially in events where he already boasted a good record, Francesco Molinari has often started brilliantly to claim the first round lead - he also led at last year's Wells Fargo.

Having finished no worse than 17th in the last four Bay Hill renewals, three of which yielded top-nines, there's every reason to believe he can do so again. With little wind forecast for day one scoring is bound to be low, making a confident touch on Bermuda greens imperative - something Steve notes in his Bay Hill preview.

And, happily, Francesco is the eighth best performer on Bermuda greens since 2014 according to FutureofFantasy's ratings.


Dave Tindall says: Back Jason Kokrak @ 50/1

Jason Kokrak has the ideal mix of course form, current form and a history of fast starts to make him a good first-round leader bet here at 50/1.

The American closed with a 68 to finish tied eighth in last week's Valspar Championship and he has two recent top-six finishes at Bay Hill. He laid the foundations for those with opening rounds of 67 on both occasions, ending day one in fifth and second respectively.

The American is fourth in Round 1 Scoring Average this season and also fourth in Par 5 Scoring Average so will relish having a crack at this par 72. He'll do so from an early tee-time.

2018 Season P/L to date: +£6

Staked: £270
Returned: £276

*£5 e/w per bet

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