2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard, scores: Shane Lowry's 66 leads crowded pack after Round 1



It was a fun day from start to finish at tricky Bay Hill during the first round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Shane Lowry leads at 6 under after a scorching back nine 31, but he has some world-class company and is not even the favorite despite being a major winner and two-time champion on the PGA Tour.

Jordan Spieth had a wild Thursday (no surprise), Scottie Scheffler struggled with his putter (also no surprise), and Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris and Sam Burns all played their way onto the leaderboard by the end of Round 1 at Bay Hill.

Let’s take a closer look at Lowry’s round and who’s chasing him at the end of Round 1. 

The leader

1. Shane Lowry (-6)

The co-lead between Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Lower lasted most of the day, but in the second-to-last pairing, Lowry finally surpassed them. He did it with a back nine that included four consecutive 3s to start (and then, because this is golf, a 4 on the first par 3 he played). He closed with a 31 on that side to shoot the only 66 among the nearly 70 golfers in the field on Thursday.

It continues a nice run for the Irishman. He contended last week at the Cognizant Classic before faltering late in the event, and he’s hitting the golf ball wonderfully after a mediocre West Coast swing.

“It’s funny, when you’re out there playing and you get on a run like that it does feel pretty easy,” Lowry said of the 3-3-3-3 start on the back nine. “Then you start — I spoke about this with my coach this week — I said, ‘This is the type of place where you get on a run and it feels easy, but then you get on a run the other way and start making bogeys, it feels like you’re never going to make a par out here again. It’s one of them courses, it’s very difficult. 

“I probably never have seen it play as easy on an afternoon as I did today,” he continued. “Obviously, we got a bit of rain on Tuesday night, we might have got a little bit last night, that helped us a little bit. It’s normally one of the firmest golf courses we play, and I’m sure over the weekend it’s going to firm up and become really difficult, but obviously 66 is a really good start.”

Other contenders

T2. Justin Lower, Hideki Matsuyama (-5)

T4. Russell Henley, Lee Hodges, Sam Burns, Sahith Theegala (-4)

T8. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Min Woo Lee, Will Zalatoris (-3)

You may not have been paying attention during a sleepy West Coast swing, but Burns is playing some of the best golf of anyone in the world right now. He had four consecutive finishes inside the top 10 on that swing and is now playing on the comfy confines of Florida grass, where he has excelled in the past. His 4-under 68 was wild; he made eight (!!) birdies and crushed the par 5s but gave those shots back with some poor par-3 play.

Still, he outplayed his playing partner — who happens to be his best friend and the No. 1 player in the world — on Thursday and is in prime position near the top of this board to make a move towards his first victory since this time a year ago when he won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

“I would say I’ve started off the year driving it pretty well,” said Burns. “I’ve always felt like, for me, if I’m driving it well, I can give myself a lot of chances with wedges and irons. I think that is a huge part of it for me. I would say that’s been really good to start.”

Spieth rode the roller coaster again on Thursday during his 3-under 69. He made seven pars in 18 holes, went to 3 under early, back to even, back to 3 under, to 2 under and then finally back to 3 under with a birdie at the last. Normal day. Normal player.

“I mean, I think it was more solid than maybe the scorecard dictates,” he said.

Chef’s kiss.

Update on No. 1

Stop me if you’ve heard this: Scottie Scheffler hit it great but cost himself big time on the greens, particularly with this short one at the par-5 16th hole. For a while, it looked like another one of those easy Scottie rounds where he doesn’t make anything but still shoots 68 and then does that four days in a row to win (or nearly win) the golf tournament. He mostly took care of the par 5s until this putt.  

Shot(s) of the day

We had two, and they both happened early. Mackenzie Hughes hit one of the wildest approach shots you’ll ever see, blasting one off the rocks and then getting a bounce to 6 feet. He unfortunately missed the putt and went on to shoot 75. 

Luke List fared a bit better. He hit this approach with both feet in the water and somehow got a birdie out of it. It helped him lead for a while before he fell off at the end. Still, he shot 69 and was near the top of the board when he finished.

2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational updated odds and picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus

  • Scottie Scheffler: 15/2
  • Shane Lowry: 11-1
  • Sam Burns: 12-1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 12-1
  • Jordan Spieth: 14-1
  • Justin Thomas: 16-1
  • Will Zalatoris: 20-1
  • Sahith Theegala: 22-1
  • Collin Morikawa: 22-1
  • Min Woo Lee: 22-1
  • Russell Henley: 22-1

Give me Spieth at 14-1 (let’s get weird) or J.T. at 16-1 (let’s be rational). I also love Burns at 12-1 given how well he’s been playing recently.





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