Flash and Mel
In 1954 Dr Phillips sold his holdings to Granada Groves, a subsidiary of the Minute Maid Corporation, and retained only the raw land. Tom Barnes, a native of Minnesota, who had always wanted to build a championship golf course, took an option out on the land with his partner, Tom Dore, a Michigan businessman who surveyed the land and saw an immediate vision of what this land could become.
They broke ground on the golf course in 1960 and christened the area “Bay Hill” The original golf course architect was Dick Wilson, Bay Hill was the first golf course planted with Tifway (Tifton 419) Bermuda grass. Wildlife still inhabited the land including a family of bobcats that resided around the 17th green. In 1965,
Walt Disney announced the purchase of over 27,000 acres of land nearby, where the Walt Disney World Resort would soon emerge.
The same year, Arnold Palmer played in and won a charity exhibition tournament at Bay Hill, Arnold fell in love with the course and the area, so much so he wanted to own it.
In the summer of 2009 Arnold decided to redesign the course with his design company. He redesigned all 18 greens, reworked of all the bunkering and made major changes to four holes. The yardage went up from 7,103 to 7,196.
My tips to win:
I was surprised Henrik Stenson 10/1 – with Ladbrokes – didn’t make more of a move on the final day at last week’s Valspar Championship but a final round 67 did see him move up one spot which helped us with a payout. As I stated last week players are now in their build-up schedules for the Masters and over the last 3 years Henrik has slowly moved up the leaderboard at Bay Hill with a Top 15, a Top 10 and last year’s Top 5 so if he keeps that progression going…
Keegan Bradley 35/1 – with Bwin – has only played in this event three times, the first in 2011 where he missed the cut and didn’t play the following year. The last two years he has entered the event and had two Top 3 finishes, including his runners-up place last year where his final round 72 saw him miss out on making a play-off by one shot. Keegan hasn’t had the best of starts to the year with two Top 20s and a missed cut from six starts but I am sure being back here this week we will see him challenge again.
Hopefully JB Holmes 40/1 – with BetVictor – looks to be back to the golfer he was before his brain surgery and will now go on to achieve all that he should in the game of golf and with four Top 25 finishes on the spin which includes two runners-up places. It seems it's only a matter of time before he adds to his three PGA Tour wins – the last of which came in April last year after a six year wait and all that it entailed. I don’t think it will be that long again and I think we will see him in the thick of it again this week.
My each-way tips:
Someone else who seems to enjoy the Bay Hill track is Kevin Na 50/1 – with Coral – who has had a couple of Top 5 finishes here including a runners-up back in 2010. Kevin should also be coming into this week in confident mood after his 66 at the Valspar Championship, he stormed up the leaderboard thirty-four places and into the Top 10, his second in a row after the WGC Cadillac Championship.
Ian Poulter 50/1 – with Ladbrokes – slipped away badly at last week’s Valspar Championship after opening with a round of 68 and then threw in two rounds in the 70s, the second being a 75 in the third round. But the Englishman recovered with a final round 69 that saw him move up the leaderboard ten places and back into the Top 25. I must admit I thought Poulter was getting back to his best after his Top 3 at the Honda Classic but being back on a course he seems to enjoy playing this week, where he has not been outside the Top 25 since 2011, I think we may see him challenging again come Sunday
It will be interesting to see how Sean O’Hair 66/1 – with Bet365 – fairs this week after missing out in the play-off at last week’s Valspar Championship and if this week’s tournament was on any other track I may not have put Sean down as one of my picks this week. O’Hair has had a runners-up finish here which came after his third place finish the year before – he also made the Top 10 last year with a final round 67. He is coming into this week with two Top 25 finishes on the spin and should be teeing up in confident mood on Thursday.
As always good luck