Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
It’s our final stop in Florida and it’s a great one. We finish the Florida Swing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. It’s a bit of a smaller field, but we should see more scoring this week than we have in a while. Our friends at DraftKings continue to roll out some fantastic contests. And I’m here to help you win some dough.
It’s a great week to check out DraftKings as they have some top notch contests.
Come on over and take a look.
This week’s PGA Tour stop is in Orlando, Florida at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) presented by MasterCard. Bay Hill has hosted this event since 1979. The course is a par 72 and runs 7,349 from the tips. It’s Florida so we have Bermudagrass greens again.
Bay Hill was redesigned in 2009 so any history prior to that isn’t quite as useful. Moreover, the greens were reseeded after last year’s event with a new type of bermudagrass. Beyond the green renovation, the fairways on the course were expanded with the removal of five acres of rough and new sand was trucked in to eliminate plugged lies. We saw more scoring last year than in years’ past and I expect that to continue.
The weather looks like it will play some games this week. We have a shot at rain on Friday afternoon/evening into early Saturday so we could see some early tee times facing wet conditions. Check back on Wednesday night to see if there is an advantage to one set of tee times over another.
It’s a smaller field of just 120 golfers, but it’s solid at the top.
The full field can be found here.
Past Tournament Results
Bay Hill has hosted this event since 1979, but with the renovations in 2009, results are only useful from that point forward.
So, here is the top 20 for the last three years:
Let’s take a look at the statistical angles in for this week’s tournament.
Birdie or Better Percentage (BOB%): We saw scoring jump last year and we should see that continue even with the new greens. We’ll need golfers who can string birdies together. Just making par won’t do.
Efficiency from >200 yards – Fairway (Eff200): When I looked at the leader board from last year’s API and the leader board in this category, I saw a lot of the same names. It’s not a perfect stat by any means (there isn’t one out there so you can stop looking), but if a player can do well with these longer approach shots (or tee shots on par 3s) and he can score then we’ve got a player we can hang our hat on.
And each week, we’ll look at Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G).
DraftKings Expert Picks
Rory McIlroy | $12,000 – My only concern with Rory this week is that missed cut at the Honda. And that he missed the Valspar last week which has the same new installation of Bermuda on the greens. With his putter struggling a bit lately (he switched grips), it might be too much to ask of him to figure it out on greens few have seen so far. With relatively soft pricing this week you can fit Rory into lineups without too much of an issue. He made his debut here last year and finished T11.
Adam Scott | $11,700 – Scott is the hottest golfer in the universe with back to back wins bolstered by a T2 before that. He’s played here twice and finished third two years ago. I don’t see any reason to fade Scott this week. Sure, the fun will end at some point, but it’s not this week.
Henrik Stenson | $11,100 – If you created a golfer from scratch to succeed at Bay Hill, he would look a lot like Stenson’s The Swede’s course history is impossible to ignore with three straight top 10 finishes and four straight 15s at Arnie’s tournament.
Jason Day | $10,800 – Day usually struggles in the Sunshine State so I don’t usually play him heavily here. He had his best finish in five trips (three made cuts) to the API last year with his T17. His finished T23 in his last event on Tour – the Cadillac Championship.
Justin Rose | $10,500 – Rose has finished in the top 15 three times and missed the cut twice over his last six starts at Bay Hill. He’s a perfect GPP option as his results are volatile here, but his current form is solid (top 20s in his last three Tour events).
Hideki Matsuyama | $10,100 – Hideki’s withdrawal three weeks ago at the Honda makes me hesitate in using him in the smaller field this week. Beyond his injury issues, the Japanese pro has struggled with the flat stick and the key distance (Eff200). He debuted here last year and finished T21.
Ryan Moore | $9,800 – Moore had back to back top 15 finishes in 2011 and 2012 so he has had success at this course. The American’s profile fits and his current form is excellent with three top 11s in four 2016 tournaments including his solo third at the Valspar last week. He may be just behind Adam Scott in current form.
Kevin Na | $9,600 – Na withdrew so make sure he’s out of your lineup.
Matt Kuchar | $9,400 – The Georgia Tech product hasn’t played this event since 2003 and I’m not clear why he hasn’t played more frequently. Even without course history to go on, we see his profile fits the course. He keeps making cuts and I like him this week as I think some will be scared off by the lack of course history.
Brandt Snedeker | $9,100 – Snedeker’s rib condition means I can’t trust him this week in a shorter field. Sneds profile fits for the course and has back to back top 15 finishes at Bay Hill. I’ll play him in a few GPPs but nothing more.
Kevin Kisner | $8,900 – Kisner has an excellent profile, but his form is trending in the wrong direction (T70 at the Honda; T23 at the Cadillac). Kisner debuted at Bay Hill last year with a T49.The only problem with his profile is he’s below average this year in Eff200.
Paul Casey | $8,700 – Rated just below Kisner in my statistical analysis, Casey is more balanced in his approach. He finished seventh in his last Tour event (the Cadillac) though his history here (two of five made cuts with a T14 in 2007) is poor. I’ll stick with Casey continuing his good form and washing away the poor course history.
Graeme McDowell | $8,600 – So, will we see the T5 at Honda McDowell or the missed cut at Valspar McDowell this week? He does have two top 10s in three times at the API. The putter has been McDowell’s problem this year and that can come and go at any time. I like him in GPPs this week.
Marc Leishman | $8,500 – Leishman will probably make or break my week as I’m going to be heavily invested in the Aussie. His profile lines up so nicely I had to check twice. He struggled with his putter early in the season, but seems to have righted the ship in his last two events. He missed the cut at this event last year and has only one top 10 in six trips, but his solid form and profile give me enough to roster him.
Harris English | $8,400 – English’s struggles to score so far this year (93rd in BOB%) means he could have some issues this week on a course that will require scoring. He’s made three of four cuts at Arnie’s event with a top 20 finish. He missed the cut last week at the Valspar.
Zach Johnson | $8,300 – I had to check twice to make sure it was THE Zach Johnson down here. He has four top 10 finishes in 12 starts at the API including his T9 last year. He hasn’t started off the Florida swing well (MC and T47), but this is the type of course where he should do well.
Byeong-Hun An | $8,100 – An played here once in 2010 and missed the cut, but that shouldn’t have any influence in our analysis. However, we haven’t seen An succeed in the States yet and I’d rather drop down to a safer option like….
Charles Howell III | $8,000 – who has made seven cuts in a row at Bay Hill with four finishes between 20th and 25th in that run. He’s also made six of seven cuts in 2016. Again, he won’t win, but he’ll likely get to the weekend.
Matt Jones | $7,900 – Jones has back to back top 20 finishes at this event. If we get Jones from 2015, we should see a third top 20. The problem is Jones’ current form which is poor having missed back to back cuts on Tour. I believe Bay Hill will help kick start Jones’ form.
Jason Kokrak | $7,900 – Back to back top six finishes at the API? Well, that’s nice to see. But, we don’t have much else to go on with the American. His profile doesn’t work (no matter what year we look at) and he’s’ missed back to back cuts. So, he’s going to be a solid GPP play this week.
Webb Simpson | $7,800 – Simpson missed the cut last week at the Valspar by two strokes. He started off nicely with a 70, but cratered on Friday with a 77. He’s made four of eight cuts here with a top finish of T11 in 2009. His profile fits (outside of his putter, but that’s always the case). I like him in GPPs.
Keegan Bradley | $7,800 – If you want to roster him you are hoping his course history leads him out of the woods where is current form is lost. He had back to back top three finishes in 2013 and 2014 at Bay Hill.
Andy Sullivan | $7,800 – Sully’s made five straight cuts including the last three in the States. He’s improved each week he’s been here – T68, T26 and T17. I’m not going to be rostering a lot of the European players as we usually see Americans in the top 20 year after year. But, Sullivan has been here for a few weeks so I have some confidence in him.
K.J. Choi | $7,700 – Choi’s profile fits the course, but I’m a bit concerned at his lack of scoring (154th in BOB% this year). His recent history at the course is poor, but he did have back to back top 20s in 2010 and 2011. His form has been up and down with three top 20s and three finishes worse than 50th in his six 2016 tourneys.
Ryan Palmer | $7,700 – Palmer has never had any success here with one cut made in six trips. He’s playing solidly with six cuts made in six starts in 2016, but doesn’t have any result to get excited about. The profile works though his putter has been off.
Billy Horschel | $7,700 – Three for three in cuts made, but no finish better than T43 for the former Gator. There isn’t a lot going for him, but that T8 at the Honda a couple of weeks ago means I’ll have him in some lineups.
William McGirt | $7,700 – As we’ve seen in the past, recent form lends itself to success at Bay Hill. So, McGirt’s T8 at the Honda fits that bill especially when paired with three other top 25 finishes in six events in 2016. His profile from this year is a great match for Bay Hill and I expect to see a top 20 from McGirt this week.
Gary Woodland | $7,700 – If you don’t like CHIII as a safe play, take Woodland for $300 less. He’s made four straight cuts made at Bay Hill with three straight top 30s.
Brendan Steele | $7,700 – Steele finished T14 at the Honda as he’s made five cuts in five starts on Tour in 2016. Everything outside of his putting works for the course. He’s made three of five cuts at Bay Hill with one top 20 (T20 in 2014).
Danny Lee | $7,600 – Lee withdrew last week with a wrist injury. This isn’t the kind of tourney to take a risk with Lee. He’ll certainly be low-owned.
David Lingmerth | $7,600 – Lingmerth’s third trip to Bay Hill was the charm as he finished T13 last year. Lingmerth’s profile from this year works outside of the putter, but his form has been sliding lately.
Thomas Pieters | $7,600 – If I’ve done my research correctly, this is Pieters’ first trip to the States for a PGA Tour event. He’s not a stranger to our shores however as he played collegiately at the University of Illinois. The young Belgian is a long hitter (14th this year and last year on the European Tour in driving distance). The problem for Pieters is he’s coming in from Thailand last week (where he finished third) and the travel concerns me.
Fredrik Jacobson | $7,500 – Another Swede! They are everywhere! Freddie has two top 10 finishes in his last four starts at Bay Hill so he can go low. His 2016 has been up and down as well – 69th, T4, T4, MC, T26 (Honda), MC (Valspar). His big advantage is the putter, but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough this week.
Matt Every | $7,500 – Every is the two-time defending champion. No, he’s not sure how it all happened either. Of course it’s unlikely he will win again this week, but it’s clear the course works for him. He should be in a lineup or two at least this week.
John Huh | $7,500 – I missed Huh in my original read through the field, but don’t make that same mistake. He has made six of seven cuts in 2016 with five top 25s and a T14 and T22 in the Florida starts. The profile works as well and has made the cut in all three tries at Bay Hill.
Luke Donald | $7,400 – He was eighth in 2007 and missed the cut in his other three starts. He hasn’t played this event since 2008. The profile doesn’t fit and his results have bounced around this year. He was T22 at the Valspar his last time out, but was T61 at the Honda.
Kevin Streelman | $7,400 – Five for five in cuts made, but only one top 10 in 2010. His profile is OK (especially his scoring – 41st in BOB%), but not much else going on.
Jonas Blixt | $7,400 – Blixt is a GPP-only option every week as he game comes and comes quickly. He finished T22 last week at the Valspar which should serve him well here in his second swing around Bay Hill.
Scott Brown | $7,400 – Brown has back to back top 10 finishes to kick off the Florida Swing. He’s one for two in cuts made here with a 13th place finish in 2013. His profile doesn’t jump out, but that Florida form is hard to ignore.
Jamie Lovemark | $7,300 – Lovemark has alternated made and missed cuts in his last five Tour events. He played here once way back in 2010 and missed the cut.
Chris Wood | $7,300 – The Englishman made his 2016 U.S. debut at the Cadillac and finished T42. In his other four starts in 2016 he missed three cuts and finished T8 in Dubai. As with many of the Euros, Wood offers tantalizingly low-ownership with a bit of the unknown. This is his first start at Bay Hill.
Matthew Fitzpatrick | $7,300 – Fitz is another Englishman, but he’s been here one week longer than Wood. Like Wood, he’ll likely be low-owned. And like Wood there is some risk that Fitz is just here to build up for the Masters. He finished T35 at the Cadillac, but his form has been uneven this year (three of six cuts made).
Smylie Kaufman | $7,300 – Kaufman’s profile fits like a glove around Bay Hill so I’m going to use him more than I might another rookie taking his first tour with Arnie. He posted a T8 at the Cadillac a couple of weeks ago and has shown the ability to score on the PGA Tour.
Francesco Molinari | $7,200 – DFSers might be quite excited to roster the Italian this week as he has back to back top 20 finishes at Bay Hill and hasn’t missed a cut in his three trips to API. However, he’s seen the weekend by parring his way around the course. Molinari has finished with 14, 12 and 14 birdies in his three starts putting him in the bottom third of the finishers each year. He will make the cut, but he won’t score enough to make a difference.
Chez Reavie | $7,200 – His current form is all we have to recommend Reavie this week (T26, seventh, T22 at Valspar).
Martin Laird | $7,200 – Laird has a surprisingly good statistical profile and he’s a past champion (2011). His form from California has disappeared with back to back missed cuts in Florida.
Kevin Chappell | $7,200 – Chappell has two top 25s in four trips here, but his form is too poor to recommend him.
Bryson DeChambeau | $7,200 – If I want an amateur this week, I’m not going to pay $7,200 for him. Sure he’s a fantastic golfer, but DraftKings has priced him 11 spots higher than his odds show he should be. There are other options (both pro and amateur) I’d rather have than the SMU golfer.
Ian Poulter | $7,100 – Steady Eddie (Ian?) lives right here and he’s made five straight cuts at Bay Hill with every finish within the top 25. It ain’t sexy, but he should work in cash lineups.
Sean O’Hair | $7,100 – Withdrew with a neck injury last week. Much like Danny Lee, it’s tough to recommend O’Hair this week in a shortened field. He can be successful here (as he has in the past) and he’ll be low-owned.
Ernie Els | $7,000 – He’s in poor form coming in, but has seen some success at Bay Hill (including a 2010 win).
George McNeill | $7,000 – McNeill is six for six in cuts made at Bay Hill and has made both of his Florida cuts this year (T53 at the Honda and T11 at Valspar). If we look at 2015’s stats then McNeill is a certain choice. If we look at 2016’s stats, we aren’t sure McNeill should have his Tour card. I’m going to lean heavily on his Florida work and course history.
Ben Martin | $7,000 – Martin is another player with an excellent profile for this course, but will likely be skipped over by a lot of players. Martin is from South Carolina and played at Clemson so he’s familiar with bermudagrass. He finished fifth here last year; his best finish in three starts.
Morgan Hoffmann | $7,000 – Hoffmann’s profile from this year and last year means he should have some success at the API. We see that in his results (T35 two years ago, fourth last year). However, he comes in playing poorly so I can’t recommend him too highly.
Blayne Barber | $7,000 – T49 here last year and back to back made cuts in Florida. He grew up in Florida and played some of his college golf in Florida so he’s familiar with the greens.
Sam Saunders | $6,900 – Saunders has made the cut in four of his five trips. Arnie’s grandson had his best finish at Bay Hill last year with a T29. He’s made the cut in his two Florida starts in 2016 and he’s a reasonable bet to do it again this week.
Andrew Loupe | $6,900 – Loupe’s profile fits this week especially is current sixth place standing in Eff200. He’s a GPP option for me this week – he missed the cut last week, but was T14 at the Honda.
Retief Goosen | $6,800 – If you want safety at this price range, then Goosen offers that net for you to jump into. He’s made our straight cuts on Tour and two of his last three cuts here missing last year.
Daniel Summerhays | $6,800 – The profile works for Summerhays though it’s never shown in his four starts at Bay Hill. He’s made the cut in both of his Florida events so maybe we’ll see his form and profile lead him to success this week.
Camilo Villegas | $6,800 – Villegas will be on a lot of my teams this week because of his history here (top 25 in each of the last three years), current form (three straight cuts made including two in Florida) and his third place standing in Eff200.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat | $6,700 – The “Barn Rat” comes in from Thailand and his T6 here last year seems a distant memory as his current form is awful.
Ricardo Gouveia | $6,700 – Gouveia is 83rd in OWGR. I had no idea. He built that on the back of a torrid European Challenge Tour (like the PGA’s Web.com Tour) season in 2015. He hasn’t had quite the same success on the European Tour though he did put up a T7 in at the Qatar Masters. The Portuguese national played his college golf at the University of Central Florida.
Adam Hadwin | $6,700 – Missed both cuts in the Florida Swing this year and makes his debut at Bay Hill this week. Pass.
Vijay Singh | $6,600 – If past performance is indicative of future results then Vijay will play the weekend. He’s done so in 21 of 22 trips to the API. He won back in 2007 amidst a run of four straight top 10 finishes. His results have been more pedestrian lately at Bay Hill, but he’ll probably make the cut.
Hunter Mahan | $6,600 – Mahan is nine of 12 in cuts made here, but has only one top 10 to show for it. He’s had no form this year so it’s about course history here which is that of a cut-maker.
Lucas Glover | $6,600 – Glover makes an excellent GPP option this week as when he gets a result here it’s usually a good one. In 2016, he’s made three of seven cuts with two top 20s. As we look at his course history, we see four of six cuts made and three top 20s in those four cuts made. So, if he sees the weekend, he’ll probably put up a top 20. Now, will he see the weekend?
Will Wilcox | $6,600 – Survey says…Yes! All systems are go on Wilcox as he makes his debut at Bay Hill. If he’s anywhere close to 2015 Will Wilcox he’ll own the course.
Patrick Rodgers | $6,600 – If Rodgers could get his putter to help out at all this week he could shoot up the leaderboard. He’s missed three cuts in a row this year and four of five overall. He makes his debut at Bay Hill this week and I’m tempted to throw him into some GPPs and hope that the putter comes around.
Ryan Ruffels | $6,600 – If you want to take a chance on an amateur, Ruffels is my choice over Bryson DeChambeau. Or, read on further and pay even less for an equally decorated amateur. Ruffels has been in the States for a few events this year and has made both cuts (Farmers and Pebble Beach).
Tyrone Van Aswegen | $6,500 – It’s been a fun ride on the Wagon, but I think we’ve hit the end of the road.
Brett Stegmaier | $6,500 – Stegmaier has back to back top 25 finishes on the Florida swing which usually means good things for Bay Hill results. The former Florida Gator has played in Florida on numerous occasions and his comfort on bermudagrass has shown.
Robert Streb | $6,500 – Speaking of players we’d like to see with their 2015 game in hand, Streb is another one. I checked his Twitter feed, but he offered no help unlike Wilcox. He has missed the cut in his only two starts at Bay Hill.
Harold Varner III | $6,500 – This is the kind of course and tourney to use HVIII in. He can score in bunches (especially on par 5s) and he’s been off the radar for a few weeks. This is his debut trip to Bay Hill.
Angel Cabrera | $6,400 – We’ll see Angel at the Masters.
Bud Cauley | $6,300 – The native Floridian debuted at the API in 2012 and finished T4. He missed the cut the following year and hasn’t played here since. He hasn’t played yet on the Florida swing, but did have two top 25s out in California earlier in 2016.
Hudson Swafford | $6,300 – Swafford’s is poor though he is back to making cuts. He missed the cut in his debut here two years ago, but put up a T11 last year. His profile works (as it does just about every week).
Maverick McNealy | $6,200 – Here is the amateur you want to take if you want to take an amateur. He made two cuts on the PGA Tour last year though just barely. Can you tell the difference between McNealy and DeChambeau this week?
Mark Hubbard | $6,100 – Hubbard has made five cuts in a row coming into Bay Hill. In four of those finishes he ended up 50th or worse. Nothing in his profile screams “USE ME!”
Jhonattan Vegas | $6,000 – Vegas has been off since Pebble Beach so I’ll remind that Vegas looks to be a new man. He’s regained full health and had shown flashes with four top 25s in eight tourneys on the new season. His profile aligns well with Bay Hill. He could be a sneaky play down here with top 25 upside.
Spencer Levin | $5,900 – T6 here in 2011 and did make the cut (T53) at the Honda. His profile actually fits pretty well so his not an awful punt play.
Tony Finau | $5,900 – 2015 Tony Finau would be a great option this week. 2016 Tony Finau doesn’t look like one. At this price, he’s worth a risk in a stars/scrubs lineup.
Zac Blair | $5,900 – Blair finished T21 here last year in his debut. But, his form coming in this year is awful. So, there’s not much there unless…..you want to believe that he thinks his game is close.
Davis Love III | $5,800 – He’s not quite Vijay Singh, but DLIII has made the cut in the last two years at the API and 18 of 22 overall. He’s made the cut in every 2016 event he’s entered.
Tim Herron | $5,800 – Won here in 1999 which is nice.
Robert Gamez | $5,500 – Won here in 1990 then missed five cuts in a row. He’s eclipsed that record with seven missed cuts in a row at Bay Hill coming in.
Good luck this week! Head over to DraftKings to choose your squad for this week.
Roster size: 6 Golfers
Golfers on each team will accumulate points as follows:
- Per Hole Scoring
- Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
- Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
- Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
- Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
- Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
- Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
- Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
- Tournament Finish Scoring
- 1st: 30 PTs
- 2nd: 20 PTs
- 3rd: 18 PTs
- 4th: 16 PTs
- 5th: 14 PTs
- 6th: 12 PTs
- 7th: 10 PTs
- 8th: 9 PTs
- 9th: 8 PTs
- 10th: 7 PTs
- 11th–15th: 6 PTs
- 16th–20th: 5 PTs
- 21st–25th: 4 PTs
- 26th–30th: 3 PTs
- 31st–40th: 2 PTs
- 41st-50th: 1 PTs
- Streaks and Bonuses
- Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
- Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
- All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
- Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs
Scoring Notes: Ties for a finishing position will not reduce or average down points. For example, if 2 golfers tie for 3rd place, each will receive the 18 fantasy points for the 3rd place finish result. Playoff Holes will not count towards final scoring, with the exception of the “finishing position” scoring. For example, the golfer who wins the tournament will receive the sole award of 1st place points, but will not accrue points for their scoring result in the individual playoff holes.
Player Lock Notes: All golfers lock at the time the first golfer tees off on day 1 of an event.
Full rules are located here for DraftKings Daily Fantasy golf.