Arnold Palmer Invitational: Looking Down the Leaderboard for Third-Round Plays

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Looking Down the Leaderboard for Third-Round Plays article feature image
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© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of players have separated themselves from the field after 36 holes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson (pictured above) is tied atop the leaderboard at 11-under par and is the clear betting favorite at +165. He shares the lead with Bryson Dechambeau, who is available at +500.

A few players are within four shots (Talor Gooch at 9-under, Byeong Hun An at 8-under, Charley Hoffman at 7-under), but the books are looking at the group at 6-under par to find the biggest threats to the leaders.

That 6-under group includes Rickie Fowler (+1000) and Patrick Reed (+1400). Rory McIlroy is six shots back at 5-under and has the same odds as Reed at +1400. Hun An is also available at +1400.

Tiger Woods failed to back up his solid opening round, shooting even par on Friday. He’s 4-under, seven shots behind Stenson and Dechambeau, and is available at +1600.

 

I view Fowler as the most likely to make a run out of that group. He leads the field in strokes gained: approach this week, but his putter has just been around the field average. If it heats up, he’s capable of putting a low round together.

Ryan Moore (+4000) is another guy farther down the board I’d consider. He’s tied for sixth in the tournament with the likes of Reed and Fowler at 6-under par. Moore is second this week in strokes gained: tee to green, but has been bad with the putter. He’s losing over a stroke per round, but he’s usually pretty consistent with that club. He ranks 49th on tour in strokes gained: putting this season, so I’d expect a bounce back there.

Matchup

If I like Moore to make a run at the title, it only makes sense that he’d be a target for one of my third-round matchup plays. He’s going off at +120 against Patrick Reed, so it’s not an easy draw for him. But Reed hasn’t been been firing on all cylinders this week despite being in a tie for sixth. He’s slightly below field average in the two ball-striking stats and is picking up all his ground on the field by scrambling and putting.

The other play I like is Grayson Murray (+120) over Zach Johnson. Murray is picking up over four shots per round from tee to green, but has lost two strokes with the putter. Murray is a bomber, and Bay Hill fits him a little better than most courses because it forces the field to use a few more drivers. Johnson has been solid this week with the irons and is around field average with the driver. It’s one of those matchups where Murray will have to play well because it’s not likely Johnson will implode this weekend. But if someone has a low round in him on Saturday, I’d back Murray at the plus money.


Top Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

All odds via Bovada on March 16