The PGA Tour leaves PGA National and travels two hours north to Bay Hill Club and Lodge to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The Honda Classic was known for the “Bear Trap” because of the difficulty of the final holes, but it looked more like the “Cocaine Bear” for my DFS picks. The field is stacked this week and I expect the DFS picks to bounce back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
I have not really missed any of the LIV Tour players this season, but I will miss not having Bryson DeChambau in the field this week. Watching him trying to drive the No. 6 hole was “Must See TV.” It is not every day you see a golfer drive the green on a PAR 5.
Bay Hill Club and Lodge will play 7,466 yards in length and is a par 72. The course was called “The best course in Florida” by Arnold Palmer. He loved it so much that he decided to purchase it. He made some adjustments and now it has some of the best closing holes in golf.
There is a lot of water and enough bunkers to build a beach. Water is in play on eight holes and if you get wild off the tee, it will be in play even more. Five of the par 4s play over 450 yards and three of the par 5s play over 550 yards. All of the par 3s play over 200 yards in length. Distance with the irons is more important than distance off the tee this week. Many golfers will club down off the tee to keep their ball in the fairway. This will setup for a lot of long iron shots.
Click here to see the course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
KEY STATS FOR ARNOLD PALMER
– Strokes Gained Total
– Strokes Gained Approach
– Strokes Gained Putting (Bermuda)
– Par 4 Scoring (450-500 yards)
TOP 30 GOLFER RANKINGS
ARNOLD PALMER STRATEGY
My strategy for lineup construction this year has been to focus on the golfers who are in good form, have good course history and rank highly in the key stats. That strategy has worked out pretty good in 2023. Six of the last seven winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational have had at least a top-three finish somewhere in Florida before. Here are the golfers who have not missed a cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with their average finish in those tournaments…
TOURNAMENT CONSTRUCTION STRATEGY
We are going to need the winner in our tournament contest lineup and the safest picks to win Sunday are Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy. I will be overweight on these guys and sprinkle in some or the $9K and $8K price range players. Yes, there are some good golfers in the $9K and $8K ranges, but there is also a lot more risk with them than there is with Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy. A balanced lineup construction could be the winning ticket, but I will make the field beat me with the $9K and $8K players when I have the three elite players (Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy) in most of my lineups.
CASH CONTEST STRATEGY
The cash contest strategy this week will be just the opposite as my tournament contest strategy. I want as many golfers who have terrific course history and enter the tournament in good form as possible. The goal for the cash contest lineup is to get six golfers who can finish in the top-25 this week.
I am not a big weather guy because I have seen people stack their lineups towards one tee time and it backfire because of a delay or because the weather was not as bad as forecasted. This week I am going to give the players who tee it up late Thursday and early Friday a little more weight. The winds are forecasted to gust around 35-40 MPH Friday afternoon. That could create some really high scores. I will do my best to stay away from those conditions, but I am not fading a player totally because of it.
CORE GOLFERS FOR ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
WIL ZALATORIS ($9,400): Many of the golfers have said before the Arnold Palmer Invitational plays like a major championship. Well, that fits perfectly for Zalatoris because he always plays well in the majors. He drew the wrong side of the preferred tee times since he will be playing Friday afternoon. I am not worried about Zalatoris. He is one of the best players in poor weather. Zalatoris ranks No. 5 in the key stats this week.
JASON DAY ($8,500): It is nice to have Day back in his old form. It is better to have him priced at $8,500. Day has done everything this year but win a tournament. That could change Sunday. Day won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2016 and he has never missed a cut (He did have to WD for an injury before, but he is in good health now). Day has finished 9th, 5th, 7th and 18th in his tournaments this year. That is outstanding form and he ranks 14th in the key stats. Day is also on the wrong side of the draw. I am not worried about the winds causing him to blow up. Day is from Australia. He is used to these conditions.
TERRELL HATTON ($8,300): Full disclosure… I typically do not have success with Hatton in my DFS lineups, but I usually do not play him in this tournament. That has proved to be a mistake that I will not make this week. Hatton has played the Arnold Palmer Invitational six years in a row. He has made every cut every year, won the event in 2020 and he finished second last year. His recent form is good and he ranks 16th in the key stats.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA ($8,200): I will take a chance with Matsuyama this week. He has played the Arnold Palmer Invitational every year since 2014 so he must like Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Matsuyama has never missed the cut in this tournament. He has flaws in his game, but Matsuyama makes up with it with his scrambling. Matsuyama ranks No. 1 in the field in scrambling. He should be a safe play and he plays in the easier weather conditions.
KEITH MITCHELL ($8,000): Bay Hill Club and Lodge is a second shot course, but pounding your drive down the fairway also helps. Mitchell ranks No. 1 in the field in Shots Gained Off-the-Tee and No. 9 in Shots Gained Tee-to-Green. He has played this tournament four years in a row and he never missed the cut (Mitchell has a pair of top-10 finishes too). If you like recent form, Mitchell finished 4th at Pebble Beach and 5th two weeks ago at the Genesis Invitational. He is a safe golfer for all contests this week.
KEEGAN BRADLEY ($7,600): It is officially “Keegan Week”, but it seems like most tournaments this year have turned into “Keegan Week.” He has the best course history in the field. Yes, even better than Rory McIlroy. Bradley has made 10 cuts in a row at Bay Hill Club and Lodge and that includes a 10th-place finish in 2021 and an 11th –place finish last year. There is no reason to fade Bradley at his best course.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
RORY MCILROY ($10,600): McIlroy will be the highest owned golfer in cash contests and he probably should be. Bay Hill Club and Lodge is his best course. McIlroy has made every cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with a win in 2018 and an average finish of 6th since 2016. His recent form is not elite, but a trip back to Orlando should get McIlroy back to the top of the leaderboard.
MAX HOMA ($9,700): Each week I watch 4 or 5 Fantasy Golf YouTube Channels and read the most popular fantasy golf articles to get a feel of who everyone likes. Two golfers no one is talking about are Max Homa and Justin Thomas. I like both of them this week. The narrative around Homa is that he is a “West Coast Swing” golfer. The truth is that he has been good at Bay Hill Club and Lodge too. Homa finished 17th, 10th and 24th in his three trips to this course. If Homa is going to be lower owned, I will take him.
RICKIE FOWLER ($7,700): It is good to have Fowler in good form again. He played three tournaments on the “West Coast Swing” and he finished 11th, 10th and 20th. Now he gets to tee it up in one of his best tournaments. Fowler has made the cut in 7 consecutive Arnold Palmer Invitational. I doubt Fowler will be highly owned, so I will take a chance with him this week.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD ($7,500): Fleetwood entered the 2023 season in poor form. He found something two weeks ago when he finished 20th at the Genesis Invitational. Now Fleetwood will tee it up in his best tournament on his resume. Fleetwood has played the Arnold Palmer Invitational six years in a row. He has made the cut in 6 of 7 and he has five top-20 finishes. Fleetwood will be a good safe golfer for your lineups this week.
GARY WOODLAND ($7,400): Is Woodland back? He has been playing pretty well lately. Woodland went 3 for 3 in cuts made on the “West Coast Swing” and that includes a 9th-place finish two weeks ago at the Genesis Invitational. Now he gets to play Bay Hill Club and Lodge. A course he is a member of and a tournament he finished 5th in last year. I will take my chances with Woodland this week.
CHRISTAIN BEZUIDENHOUTS ($7,100): C-Bez is a member of Bay Hill Club and Lodge. His course knowledge has given him an advantage in this tournament. C-Bez has played the Arnold Palmer three years in a row. He finished 20th, 7th and 18th. Not too bad for a golfer priced at $7,100. I like targeting C-Bez at the tougher courses because he is one of the best in the field at Bogey Avoidance. I will take a shot with him at his home course.
Here are my lineups for Multi-Entry Tournament Contest: (FantasyRacing Tips)
* I stacked 8 lineups with the Thursday PM / Friday AM tee times and then the other 12 lineups have a mixture of both tee times. I hope the forecast doesn’t change…LOL
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
PGATOUR.COM FANTASY PICKS
* This is the ninth tournament of Segment 2. There are 10 tournaments included in Segment 2, including THE PLAYERS Championship next week.
FANTASY GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP ONE & DONE PICK: Will Zallatoris (API)
Players in Fantasy Golf Championship One & Done so far: Matt Kuchar (MC), Tony Finau (20), Xander Schauffele (10th), Seamus Power (15th), Max Homa (1st), Brian Harman (MC), and Corey Conners (12th)
SEASON LONG ONE & DONE PICK: Will Zillatoris (API)
Players Used This Season in One & Done: Sungjae Im (42nd), Max Homa (2), Xander Schauffele (10th), Jordan Spieth (63rd), Jon Rahm (7th), Taylor Montgomery (5th), Russell Henley (32nd), Seamus Power (25th), Brian Harman (2nd), Maverick McNealy (27th), Emiliano Grillo (42nd), Nick Hardy (28th), Terrell Hatton (13TH) Christian Bezuidenhout (29th), Cameron Davis (37th), Denny McCarthy (39th), Brendon Steele (CUT)
BEST BETS ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
WILL ZALATORIS (22-1)
MAX HOMA (25-1)
JASON DAY (30-1)
KEITH MITHCHELL (50-1)
LOG SHOT SPECIAL: SAM BURNS (55-1)
* There have been three elevated events so far. The winners have been Jon Rahm (twice) and Scottie Scheffler (not really long-shots).
Good Luck This Week!!!!
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