Branden Grace’s first win on the PGA TOUR for five years may be the omen needed to signal a first win on US soil for Louis Oosthuizen, who is in good form ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It is no secret that the South Africans are a close-knit bunch on the major tours abroad. There’s a friendly “braairivalry” amongst them, while they all support each other and help reduce the strain of being so far away from friends, they all want to win.
Grace did that last week in Puerto Rico. And his second PGA TOUR victory could spark a significant first for Oosthuizen.
While the field is stacked, as they say overseas, there is enough room for optimism for Saffa fans.
Bet on Louis at 35-1
King Louis was T11 at TPC Scottsdale and T6 last week at The Concession. The much-adored South African always plays well at the big events – that’s a fact that cannot be ignored – and this week’s test at Bay Hill is right up there when it comes to showpiece tour events.
Add his form to his penchant for playing well when it matters and then combine a recent upsurge in his putting and it’s a combination that is bubbling over.
The course – affectionately known as Arnie’s Place – is a brute and last year produced the highest winning score (Tyrrell Hatton won the last event before the world went into lockdown at -4). Poor weather is around and both factors play into Oosthuizen’s strengths …
If Oosthuizen is to win, he must get past the three favourites in this punter’s mind anyway – he must beat Hatton, Hovland and Reed.
Some might have McIlroy as their man for the week but like Tony Finau, he looks almost incapable of finishing strong.
Bet on Patrick at 20-1
Reed loves to win, he loves to add to his reputation as the villain and he is a man red-hot with more than his putter (second on tour) right now. With two top 15s at this event, he’s one to watch.
Bet on Victor at 11-1
Hovland is one of the hottest players on the planet right now. He will start on Thursday with a win, two seconds, a third, a fifth and a sixth in his last seven starts. That form is irresistible to ignore. Plus his ball striking isn’t bad either.
Bet on Tyrrell at 16-1
And don’t forget Hatton the defending champion. He’s in decent form and was T4 here on his debut too. It’s a formidable field, but it could just be King Louis who is crowned champion on Sunday.