Saturday, March 15, 2008

Arnold Palmer Invitational ....."and Down the Stretch They Come!"

The reigning Olympic S&M queen couldn't have tied this tournament any tighter. The planets were aligned to allow a precise series of events to take place and leave us with a five man logjam at the top. Bart Bryant, Sean O'Hair, Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, and Tiger are locked at -6.

Different routes were traveled to arrive at the same spot. Woods found his putter, missing since Thursday. He immediately installed a GPS system on it to prevent a repeat. O'Hair shot a career round 63 to climb over what seemed like sixty other players and land squarely in first. Vijay shot 73 in Sybil-like fashion. 40-33 to hang on to a piece of the lead. His card looked like an average golfer's, just twenty strokes lower. Watson shot his third round in the sixties and he and Bryant, with his 3rd consecutive 68, arrived at the lead in the most conventional manner. To add to the clutter, there's 11 other players within three strokes of the lead, including Lehman, Westwood, Furyk, and Mahan. Freddy ballooned to a 78 today and I hope it's not back related.

Sunday should be interesting if nothing else. Heavy winds today redefined risk/reward. Still, as O'Hair showed today, low scores can be had. Just not for the faint of heart. This is the first five way tie on Sunday in the 30 year history of the Bay Hill tournament. If you're searching for a betting edge, Tiger is 42-3 with at least a share of the lead after 54 holes. He'll be in the final pairing with O'Hair, who won last week's PODS Championship for his second career win.

Tomorrow's forecast for Orlando is partly cloudy, 84 degrees and 10-20 mph winds. The weather won't be a factor. Expect a fast track at post time. There's no better finisher than Woods, so I expect he'll establish rail position coming out of turn 3 and sprint to the finish holding off a hard charging Singh or Watson. Long shots are Westwood and Furyk.

Til' next,

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