Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: Arnold Palmer Invitational

The Course

  • Bay Hill Club and Lodge
  • Orlando (Bay Hill), Florida
  • Par 72
  • 7,419 yards
    • Long carries into greens (long iron play is crucial)
    • Water hazards on about half of the holes
    • Many greenside bunkers (over 100 total bunkers)
    • Rough can get long
    • Quick Bermuda greens
    • Shortest par 3 is 199 yards (again… long iron play is crucial)
    • It should play somewhat similar to last week at the Honda Classic at PGA National but with more scoring

Key Stats

  • SG: approaching-the-green
  • SG: off-the-tee
  • Proximity from > 200 yards
  • GIR
  • Bermuda putting
  • Bogey avoidance
  • Birdie or better
  • Par 5 scoring

The Field

Tiger is out. I repeat Tiger is out. It was big news Monday afternoon — he had been dealing with a neck strain so Woods has opted to sit this week out, making room for Bud Cauley. This is an Invitational so the field is slightly smaller (123 golfers) than the typical PGA Tour event. Wedged between the WGC-Mexico and The Players Championship, many players elected to take the Honda Classic off last week and pick back up this week so the field is loaded with talent once again.

Picking Strategy

With a top-heavy field of this size my strategy will be to find a balanced team with guys that can top 10 against this level of competition. With the smaller field, some of the good sleeper plays are a little more expensive this week so I’ll want to minimize my exposure in that range and pivot to more of the value plays.

Big Dogs ($8,900 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Rory McIlroy ($11,400 DK – $12,200 FD) – Rory is coming off of four consecutive top 5’s and his last two finishes at Bay Hill were 1st and 4th. He’s also 1st in SG: tee-to-green this season so I see him as being the best overall pick and worth the money (and possibly highly owned).
    • Bryson DeChambeau ($9,700 DK – $11,200 FD) – Bryson finished 2nd here last year but is coming off of a 56th place finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship so I’m hoping that this so-so showing will have people picking elsewhere in this loaded field. If not, it won’t be too big of a hit if you play him in cash lineups.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Justin Rose ($10,700 DK – $12,100 FD) – the last time we saw Rose was at the Saudi International where he missed the cut by two strokes. He hasn’t played in four weeks so if the narrative is that he might be rusty and has a bad taste in his mouth from that missed cut then it’s possible that his ownership could be lower than it typically would be.
    • Patrick Reed ($8,900 DK – $10,500 FD) – Reed has only been in the top 10 once in his last 17 events which has his price tag dipping into the 8,000’s. I think he’s a good fit for this course (finished 7th here last year) and could be overlooked. Four out of his last seven finishes he has been 11th, 13th, 13th, and 14th so he’s certainly knocking on the door.

Value ($7,300 – $8,800 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Keegan Bradley ($8,400 DK – $9,100 FD) – Keegan has made roughly a million straight cuts and is 5/5 at Bay Hill in the last five years in terms of made cuts. He’s averaging right around 30th place in his last seven events and his last five here but he is coming off of a 10th place finish so let’s hope that it has his confidence up and he can roll the ball well.
    • Ian Poulter ($8,000 DK – $10,100 FD) – Poulter’s last four events have all been outside of the U.S. but have all been 6th place or better. Just before that his last two tournaments were in Hawaii and he was 18th and 33rd. He’s been traveling all over the place but it doesn’t seem to be phasing him and he continues to golf extremely well so he’s one of my favorite value plays in this price range.
    • Michael Thompson ($7,600 DK – $9,600 FD) – Thompson continues to have the hot hand with a 16th place finish at the Honda Classic last week to extend his top 20 streak to five straight tournaments. With his recent performance and relatively low price tag, I envision him being a high percentage pick so I like him more for cash lineups.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Charles Howell III ($8,600 DK – $10,000 FD) – Howell has a solid track record here and since his win at the RSM Classic he has looked very solid. With all of the guys below him on the board like Berger, Kokrak, Poulter, Bubba, List, etc… I can see people pivoting to these cheaper guys and Howell could slide through with lower ownership even though his resume is so impressive.
    • Adam Hadwin ($7,700 DK – $9,300 FD) – two years ago at Bay Hill Adam Hadwin finished in 6th place and the year before, his only other year in the tournament, he made the cut and finished 36th. He’s great off the tee and one of the best at par 5 scoring which should give him a shot to do well here yet again.
    • Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,500 DK – $9,900 FD) – Rafa seems to be under priced on DK and it’s even more evident when you look at his price on FD. He’s been in the top 25 in each of his last three events but hasn’t played here so maybe that’s why his price is lower. Either way, Rafa is capable of playing in this talent filled field and finishing near the top of the leaderboard.

Sleepers ($7,200 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Kevin Na ($7,200 DK – $8,900 FD) – Na seems to be doing fine after suffering a broken finger earlier in the year. He hasn’t been a world-beater since then with a 60th, 33rd, and 36th place finish starting with the Waste Management but he has a 14th and 6th place finish on this course in the last five years. He should have a decent floor here and could even come into his own as he becomes healthier.
    • J.T. Poston ($7,100 DK – $8,600 FD) – J.T. is 6/6 in his last six cuts and the best part of his game lately has been his approaches into the green which is a significant stat for success at Bay Hill. After shooting an opening round +3 last week he battled back to make the cut and finished T36 so he should have some momentum coming into this one.
    • Nate Lashley ($6,900 DK – $8,500 FD) – Nate Lashley rates out very well for this course in his limited play on Tour. He’s been great at gaining strokes into the green and is one of the best at proximity approaching the green this year so he could be a very safe pick that not many casual golf fans are familiar with.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Sungjae Im ($7,000 DK – $9,000 FD) – Sungjae missed two consecutive cuts before bouncing back last week but he still only finished in 51st place. He was -6 going into the third round but shot +7 so his tournament could have been a lot better. Before those missed cuts he was golfing very well and had excellent game off of the tee which should provide him with some scoring opportunities this week.
    • Talor Gooch ($6,800 DK – $8,800 FD) – Gooch continues to be one of the best ball strikers into the green on tour and showed last week that he is comfortable on these penal Florida courses. He finished T20 last week at PGA National and in this event last year he was 26th so this is a guy that’s sub 7,000 who could flirt with a top 10.
    • Danny Lee ($6,600 DK – $8,300 FD) – I’ve been on Danny Lee for a few weeks now and he had a decent showing last week despite shooting 5 over in the third round. He has a lot of experience in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and even has two top 20’s here in the last five years. He’s been good at getting to the greens and limiting the blow ups so I’ll probably be on him again this week.

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Brandt Snedeker ($7,200 DK – $9,800 FD) – these next two guys are tough to consider dark horses when they are nearly $10,000 on FD but both are guys that have struggled lately but could pop here. Sneds missed the cut in this event last year but before that he made four straight and all of those were inside the top 40. He didn’t look great in California but maybe being back on the East Coast will help his game.
    • Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7,100 DK – $9,500 FD) – Kiradech looked awful last week so that might have people off of him here on a somewhat similar course. He also hasn’t been great approaching the green this year but he’s finished 6th at Bay Hill twice so he definitely has it in him to do well here.
    • Aaron Wise ($7,000 DK – $8,800 FD) –  Wise is sandwiched between Charley Hoffman (who has great history here) and Jhonattan Vegas (who was the first round leader last week). This might help keep his ownership low and he’s coming off of a 19th place finish after missing three straight cuts so his game might be quietly getting back on track.
    • Corey Connors ($6,300 DK – $7,900 FD) – Connors has missed 2/2 cuts since his 3rd place finish at the Sony Open. It’s been so long that he’s played on the weekend that people might’ve completely forgotten about him but his ball striking, GIR, and proximity have all been stellar this year. He might be worth a shot if his game gets back to where it was early this season.


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Mark Lee

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Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.