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Sleeper Picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard

4 Min Read

Sleeper Picks

    Taylor Pendrith(+400 for a Top 20) … Whoever leads the 11 PGA TOUR rookies in the field, consider him to be the front-runner to win the Arnold Palmer Award as the season’s best rookie. With respective finishes of T3, T15 and T10, Sungjae Im (2019), Scottie Scheffler (2020) and Will Zalatoris (2021) each paced the rookies at Bay Hill, and then went on to be the Rookie of the Year. OK, Zalatoris was the only rookie who competed here last year, and there was only three official rookies last season, but both Im and Scheffler were among six in their respective editions. Pendrith is off to a solid start of his rookie campaign what with three top 25s contributing to an 8-for-13 record. That includes a T25 at The Honda Classic. He’s among the longest hitters on TOUR, he’s T32 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and T51 in greens hit. To monitor the entire rookie class all season, read and bookmark Rookie Ranking.

    Lucas Glover(+333 for a Top 20) … Now seven months on from his most recent of four PGA TOUR victories at the John Deere Classic, it took him six months to record another top 30, which he did loudly with a T5 at Waialae in January. In fact, he’s a smarter play for a top 40 at Bay Hill because he hung up four of those in his last five starts of full-field competition, but it was just three years ago when he signed four red numbers at Bay Hill en route to a T10. It’s also his most recent of five top 20s in the tournament. Still a sharpshooter tee to green, the 42-year-old ranks ninth in fairways hit and third in greens in regulation.

    Sean O’Hair(+600 for a Top 20) … The 39-year-old is in the field on a sponsor exemption, but he is no stranger to Bay Hill or feeling the sweat on Sundays. Buried deep in his history here is a T3 in 2008 and a solo second in 2009, but he’s connected for five top-15 finishes in all, including in his last visit in 2018 when he placed T7. He’s navigating this season on Past Champion status that effectively was the outcome of a couple of shortened seasons due to injury. He’s made only three starts this season but two resulted in a top 25, including a T16 at Pebble Beach. Since, he added a T6 at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic.

    Beau Hossler(+500 for a Top 20) … When Bryson DeChambeau withdrew on Monday, Scott Piercy gained entry as an alternate having ranked 117th in the FedExCup at the conclusion of The Genesis Invitational. (It was the cutoff for entry via that category to fill the field of 120 at Bay Hill.) The 2021-22 PGA TOUR is one-third complete, but it still can be a challenge for golfers on conditional status, like Hossler, to play enough to rise into the bubble for the API. So, for him to be 53rd upon arrival and among the automatic qualifiers (via the top 70 in the FedExCup at the same cutoff) speaks to his recent performances. Still, he’s cashed only four times this season, but that’s the power of a solo third (Pebble Beach) and a pair of T16s, including just last week at PGA National. For good measure, the soon-to-be 27-year-old (on March 16) is 3-for-3 at Bay Hill with a personal-best T24 in his last trip in 2020.

    Matt Wallace(+600 for a Top 20) … A horse for a course can be a Sleeper when his recent form is uninspiring. This is the consideration for the 31-year-old Englishman who’s finished T6, T24 and T18 in the last three editions of the API, respectively. However, since a T14-T4 burst at the Shriners and ZOZO in October, he’s just 3-for-7 worldwide and with only one top-65 finish, a T35 in Dubai. If there’s a tiebreaker to establish an expectation for him to piggyback his track record, it’s that he arrived here last year with similarly lackluster form and still rose to the challenge.

    Odds were sourced on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. For live odds, visit betmgm.

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