Our event of the day is Day 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Florida. The tournament is considered one of the premier events on the tour and always boasts one of the strongest fields of any competition. Six of the top ten players in the PGA’s ranking will be competing for the famous red jacket in Florida this week, along with 11 former PGA Tour Rookies of the Year, making it the toughest field this event has seen in 12 years. Whilst Tiger Woods exerted his dominance at Bay Hill Club in the early noughties, winning four in a row from 2000 to 2003, the golfing legend will miss out this week after recently sustaining a strain in his neck, and will have to wait for his chance to notch his ninth title at the Invitational.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy won last year’s edition with a score of 270, which has only been bettered by Tiger Woods since the turn of the century, when he hit 269 in 2003. An amazing final round from McIlroy saw him birdie eight of the last 13 holes and five of the last six, ending up with a score of 64 which is worthy of winning any tournament. The 29-year-old has impressed so far this year too and, although he is yet to notch his first title of 2019, he has notched four straight top-five finishes on tour and will go into this event full of belief. He will play in a star-studded group alongside former Masters champion Patrick Reed and the winner at Bay Hill in 2017, Marc Leishman. Joining these big names in the field is one Justin Rose, who hasn’t played since appearing on the European Tour in Saudi Arabia back in early February. The Englishman was displaced atop the world rankings last week by Dustin Johnson, and Rose will be desperate to regain the top spot going into the Masters next month. Although the 38-year-old has been relatively inactive in recent weeks, he has already secured his first title of 2019, winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January, winning by two shots to collect a cool $1,278,000 in prize money. It should be an enjoyable first day of this excellent golfing event.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the tennis where the men’s draw at the BNP Paribas Open kicks off today in Indian Wells. Whilst most of the more elite players will receive a bye into the round of 64, there is still a jam-packed day of tennis to look forward to, with world number 35 Frances Tiafoe headlining the action as he takes to the court with Chile’s Nicolas Jarry. Elsewhere, the last 16 teams in the Europa League will battle it out for a place in the Quarterfinals tonight as the first legs get underway. Chelsea, who are one of the favourites to go all the way, will host Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine whilst Arsenal face Rennes and Napoli play Red Bull Salzburg in the pick of the ties. The race for playoff spots is heating up in the NHL as the Calgary Flames travel to face the Arizona Coyotes whilst the Pittsburgh Penguins will take to the ice with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Unibet Premier League goes north of the border tonight as Aberdeen hosts the cream of the darting crop as they battle it out for top spot in this fiercely contested league. Finally, in the snooker, the Players Championship resumes in Preston today where world champion Mark Williams will look to get the better of world number three Neil Robertson to book his place in Friday’s Semifinals.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Arnold Palmer Invitational
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