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BlogWho will win at Bay Hill on Sunday?

Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 20 – 23, 2014

Bay Hill Club

Orlando, Fla.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,419

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Tiger Woods

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know for Sunday’s final round at Bay Hill:

Before we begin….

Yesterday was a sad day for me personally and the golf world on learning of the death of Frank Hannigan.  He was like a second father to me, since I first met him 30 years ago he has always been gracious and a person of great strength for me.  Yes he was cantankerous and very opinionated but his best quality was his truthfulness and loyalty.  He wasn’t afraid of telling you what he thought and never sugarcoated anything.  That was his key and the reason ABC Sports hired him in 1989.  I also worked for ABC Sports back then and saw how he was able to help producers Terry Jastrow and then Jack Graham through several tough issues with answers to help guide the shows in the right direction when tough issues came up.  You may not of gotten the answer that you wanted from Frank but it made you think that it was the fair and right way of handling something.  He retired from ABC in 2002 but still was an important ear for me personally, guiding me through the opening of first GolfObserver and then this site Golfstats.  When you got an email from Frank, it may not of been pretty but his words, thoughts and direction were elegantly laid out.  In knowing him for a number of years I realized that his thoughts were more about the average person and he detested big money and what it was doing to change the golf landscape.  For Frank golf was about going to a piece of ground that had 18 tees, 18 fairways and 18 greens, tee it up, fire a shot with a persimmon driver, then grab your bag and march down the fairway.  Maybe because of his middle class roots growing up in Staten Island is why Frank turned out the way he was.  He loved underdog stories thriving to learn about them and see them succeed, a trait that is hard to find in people these days.  I know personally he will be missed, even in poor health we would talk for many hours on the issues of golf and how hard the business of golf has gotten.  My condolences goes out to his wife Janet and two children Keith and Susan, he will be missed.

Let’s go on to the Arnold Palmer Invitational…

So can Adam Scott win on Sunday?

Yes he can, Scott is probably one of the top-five best players on tour today.  He could be the greatest ball striker in the game today and when his chipping and putting are good, he tends to win a lot.  Many will say his biggest weakness is putting, but in fact it’s his makeup in sometimes overanalyzing and talking himself out of championships.  A perfect example of this was his loss in the 2012 British Open and last year’s Australian Open.  In both cases his thought process and confidence level led him to disaster, something that we saw in his round on Saturday when he made four bogeys.  At the same time he is learning more on dealing with it and it’s the reason that he shot 71 instead of a 74 or 75.

So does that mean that Scott may not win on Sunday?

Yes, if he tries to overanalyze things instead of just going out and shooting for the pins someone can sneak in and beat him like Ernie Els did at the British Open and Rory McIlroy did at the Australian Open.  The reason I don’t think he will lose is that he is playing great and he is putting really well.  Also the experience factor is there, he always learns from his mistakes and tries not to follow them, so I expect good things from him.

So can Keegan Bradley win on Sunday?

Damn right he can.  Bradley will begin the final round in second place, three shots behind Scott. Bradley has not won since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone , but each of his three PGA Tour wins had final-round comebacks so he is in a seat he is familiar with. .After a slow start to his year, his game seems to have warmed up since coming to Florida.  It doesn’t surprise me because Bradley’s best always seems to come starting in March, plus I think he is more comfortable with Bermuda that any other grass.  Another thing about Bradley is his enthusiasm and cockiness, when he gets on a rolled it’s very hard to beat him and you can see from his start in which he par his first 11 holes on Thursday, going on to shooting 71, then tacking on a 67 on Friday followed by a 66 on Saturday in which he made six birdies on the back nince including birdies at 16, 17 and 18 he could be a person that Adam Scott will worry about.

Can anybody else with?

I can only see either Scott or Bradley winning.  Scott is at 15 under, followed by Bradley at 12 under.  Matt Every and Jason Kokrak are at 11 under with Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari at ten under.  In just know out of the group of Every, Kokrak and Hadley their main concern getting a third and possibly a runner-up finish which would  solidify their years.  Now Molinari is a different story, he and Ian Poulter who is at 8 under will try to press the issue and if Scott looks to be faltering early will try and take advantage of the situation.  Still I think this will be a two horse race.

Other than the win for Scott or Bradley, what else is at stake on Sunday?

First if Adam Scott wins he will be the number one golfer in the world.  Frankly I don’t think he feels it’s that important and won’t be a driving factor for him.  Still it will be a nice honor and with the way Tiger is with the back, Adam would be number one at the Masters.  For Chesson Hadley, who won two weeks ago in Puerto Rico, he still doesn’t have a Masters invite and could get one with a great round on Sunday.  He presently is 58th in the world rankings and if he could get into the top-50 after next week’s Valero Texas Open he will get one of the last invites.  In order to get into the top-50 this week, Hadley needs a top-seven or better finish.  Now if Hadley can finish in the top-four, he would shoot up to 40th or 41st in the rankings, enough that he would lock up a Masters spot without having to worry about Valero.  Other players on the bubble for getting into the top-50 is Matt Every who is 94th in the rankings, Ryo Ishikaw who is 83rd and Pat Perez who is 102nd.  All three are in bad shape and can only crack the top-50 with a win.  But a second or third place finish could put them within shouting distance for next week’s Texas Open.

Of the top players on the leaderboard, who is playing the best?

Player Valspar WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Qatar Masters Humana Abu Dhabi
Chesson Hadley
(185.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP Win
(132)
T24
(17.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matt Every
(120.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T6
(40)
CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP
Keegan Bradley
(82.5 pts)
DNP T50
(1.5)
DNP T12
(25.33)
T33
(17)
T20
(20)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(73.5 pts)
DNP T25
(37.5)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryo Ishikawa
(66 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T19
(31)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(62.83 pts)
DNP T25
(37.5)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(54 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T19
(10.33)
T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Freddie Jacobson
(43.67 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP T76
(0)
DNP
Erik Compton
(29 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP
Morgan Hoffmann
(21.33 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-14 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well:

Player Valspar WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Accenture Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Qatar Masters Humana Abu Dhabi
J.B. Holmes
(2.33 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T52
(0)
T61
(0)
T58
(0)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(8.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
T56
(0)
T48
(0.67)
DNP 74
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ian Poulter
(14.67 pts)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T47
(1)
DNP DNP DNP
Morgan Hoffmann
(21.33 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion

Another case of the leader holding all of the cards.  The magic number for Scott today has to be 70, if he shots that it means that Keegan Bradley has to shot another 66, a tall order on Sunday.  Scott is capable of winning and will be the favorite in just about everyone’s book.  But what his body language in his earlier holes.  If he is smiling a lot that is a great sign.  If he makes a couple of early five, ten footers that is a great sign.  But in the case of his loses in the British and Australian Opens, those loses came down the stretch when he didn’t stay confident and let his demons get the best of him.  He will be playing with a very confident and somewhat cocky player in Keegan Bradley.  If Scott starts to overanalyze and worry about Bradley he could lose. But if Scott is as confident as Bradley and just hits the shots that he is capable of doing, it should be a walk in the park.   A couple of other stories that you need to watch.  First is J.B. Holmes who is T8th at 7 under.  He has had a rough ride since his brain surgery.  He has 13 events remaining to earn $469,469 in his Major Medical Extension. A two-way tie for second place this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational would give him enough.  T12th at 6 under is Erik Compton, we all know his story and fight, we all will be rooting for a great finish and possibly his best finish on the PGA Tour which presently is T4th at the Honda Classic in 2013.  It may be hard to believe but Compton has only finished once in the top-ten on the PGA Tour.  Last and one person that tournament host Arnold Palmer will be watching is his grandson Sam Saunders.  He is T15th at 5 under, his best finish in 21 PGA Tour starts is a T15th at the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.  Since he doesn’t have a PGA Tour card you know that a really great round of 63 or a 64 could shoot him way up the leaderboard, who knows maybe finish 2nd or 3rd.  Something like that could get him within shouting distance of possibly getting on the PGA Tour.

Again sorry about being a bit late with this, we try to post on Saturday night but that wasn’t possible last night.

 

Who will win the Arnold Palmer on Sunday?

Best Bets:

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T30 T3 T25

Could be the best all-around player in the world right now. His win last year in the Masters solidified that honor and has made him a much better player. Now Scott has blown three big 54 hole leads, we talked about the British Open and Australian Open, he also blew a three shot lead at the 2007 FedEx Classic. Do I think he will do it again, no. I see him doing his job and winning.

Best of the rest:

Keegan Bradley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T3 CUT

Boy he is really cocky and when he gets into the groove is hard to stop. He will be gunning for Scott and knows that Scott is vulnerable. He will take advantage if the things happen in that direction but if not he will play well and be happy with a second place finish. For him to have any shot at beating Scott he needs to shot at least 68 but probably a 65 or 66.

Not a chance in the world:

Chesson Hadley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Will be gunning for a Masters invite, don’t think he will win but could finish 2nd or 3rd.

Matt Every

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T34 T24 CUT T52

I was surprise to see that he has three top-eight finishes this year and has finished in the top-25 in five of his seven starts. But that is what Every is about, top-tens, not wins. I would say that is his mindset, a really good check instead of going out with winning on his mind. Look for another top-ten from him.

Jason Kokrak

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT

He will be more interested in a top-five than winning. Don’t see much from him on Sunday.

Long shots that could come through:

Francesco Molinari

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T34

Kid is really good and will be looking for nothing short of a victory on Sunday. But that will be a tall order in which he needs to shot 63 or 64.

Ina Poulter

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Amazing to see him on the front page of a leaderboard. He won’t win but may have a great start which will draw attention to him which he loves.

Ryo Ishikaw

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Has played in the Masters the last five years and would love to continue the streak. But to do that he needs to shot at least 65 or better just to put him in the position to be able to get into the top-50 next week.

We have to mention him because he is always a sentimental favorite:

Erik Compton

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T16 CUT T56 T30 CUT CUT

Would love to see him shot 65, 66 and climb way up the leaderboard.

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