Arnold Palmer Invitational: Projecting Friday’s Cutline, Does Rory Make It?

Rory McIlroy, 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational,(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational,(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Projecting Friday’s Cutline at the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rahm leads, again, is Rory in danger?

There is one man at the top of the golfing world at the moment and he is demonstrating no signs of slowing down anytime soon, regardless of which coast of the country he is playing on.

Jon Rahm last teed it up at the famed Riviera Country Club two weeks ago where he was presented with the Genesis Invitational trophy by Tiger Woods after the Spaniard had secured his third win of 2023 and returned to the top of the world rankings.

Now, Rahm is on the charge again, only this time it’s on the East Coast at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, a locale where the world number one had infamously missed a putt from inside a foot one year ago. 

If Thursday’s opening round is anything to go by, Jon Rahm will have no such troubles working his way around Arnie’s Place this time around.

Jon tops the leaderboard at an elevated event once again following an opening 65 that he emphatically capped with an eagle, birdie, birdie finish to secure a two-stroke advantage over the competition heading into Friday.

Rahm’s closest competition after one round of play comes in the form of last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Cameron Young, and last week’s Honda Classic winner, Chris Kirk, who both find themselves two shots adrift.

Meanwhile, defending champion Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, and Rickie Fowler, all find themselves inside of the top 10 of yet another stacked leaderboard at an elevated event, a common occurrence during the inaugural season of the PGA Tour’s designated events. 

Is Rory in danger of missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational?

The 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational winner has made a habit of getting off to quick starts around Bay Hill as Rory has either led or held a share of the lead after round one in each of the past two years here.

Alas, all great runs must come to an end, and that was certainly the case for McIlroy on Thursday. The Northern Irishman opened with a 1-over 73, his worst opening round since the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational when he opened with a 2-over 74 before bouncing back en route to a T4 finish.

McIlroy will surely be confident in his chances of sticking around for the weekend having never missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With anticipated blustery conditions to come during Friday’s second round, does McIlroy’s opening round leave him in good standing with this week’s projected cutline?

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational: Friday’s Projected Cutline

Data Golf has this week’s probable cutline currently at +2 (41.9%). The projected cut moving in either direction during Friday’s second round is pretty evenly split with +1 (26.3%) only a marginal favorite over +3 (21.7%).

With the expected conditions likely to heavily impact those numbers tomorrow, it’s all still in front of the majority of the field heading into the second round. As things stand, however, Rory finds himself on the right side of the cutline and in position to extend his remarkable streak of made cuts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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Some of the more notable names who would find themselves on the wrong side of the cutline as things currently stand include, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, Sam Burns, and Kevin Kisner.

Friday’s second-round action gets underway at 7 a.m. EST on ESPN+