The Florida swing moves to Bay Hill this weekend for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The course is a par 72 setup that plays just over 7,400 yards. Despite the length of the course, the par 5s are gettable and this weekend’s winner is going to be someone who takes advantage of them throughout the week. Additionally, mid-to-long iron play is important as players tend to go less than driver while they navigate through this course. If the wind is blowing this weekend then the course will show its teeth, as the rough is penal. In terms of key stats this week, we’re looking at strokes gained approach, strokes gained off the tee, birdie or better percentage, and par five scoring. We’ll also want to dig into the putting stats, as finding players who excel on Bermuda greens will be an added bonus.
- Tommy Fleetwood: $11,700
- Brian Harman: $10,600
- Kevin Kisner: $9,800
- Jason Kokrak: $9,500
- Luke List: $9,200
- Charley Hoffman $9,200
Tommy Fleetwood ($11,700)
The top of the board price-wise is filled with a lot of uncertainty this week, so I will be taking the safe route with Fleetwood. He’s made all 13 of his cuts this season, which includes top-six finishes in five of the past seven events. Fleetwood is ranked fourth on the Tour in strokes gained off the tee and is one of the best ball strikers in the world. On a course where hitting fairways is crucial, Fleetwood should have no problem navigating Bay Hill, and he also finished T10 here in his only start in 2017.
Brian Harman ($10,600)
A couple of weeks ago in Mexico, Harman flashed some of the form that led him to four top-five finishes at the beginning of the wrap-around season. After coming off a week of rest and receiving a price increase, Harman should come at lower ownership this week. Harman is ranked 32nd on the Tour in strokes gained approach, but what sets him apart is his ability to score as he ranks 15th in birdie or better percentage and 14th in par five scoring. Both stats are crucial at Bay Hill which makes Harman a strong play this week.
Kevin Kisner ($9,800)
FanDuel has tightened up the pricing this week, so we’re going to need a few risky plays in our lineups. Kisner is certainly one of those plays. He missed the cut in two of his past four events and hasn’t finished better than 25thsince early January. So, what is there to like this week? Well, Kisner returns to playing on Bermuda greens this week and he has excelled in putting on them throughout his entire career. He also has been lights out on the greens this season, ranking fifth in strokes gained putting. If he’s able to figure out his approach game, he’ll be climbing the leaderboard this weekend.
Jason Kokrak ($9,500)
Kokrak has been in strong form to start the 2017-2018 season, making 10 of 11 cuts. He is also coming off an eighth-place finish at the Valspar Championship. As I mentioned in my intro, par five scoring is a key stat this week and Kokrak really pops out here. He is ranked fourth on the tour in par five scoring and 27th in birdie or better percentage. On a long golf course, Kokrak will have a ton of opportunities to bomb his way ahead of the competition this weekend.
Luke List ($9,200)
List is coming off two strong starts, finishing second and sixteenth. Additionally, he has played some great golf throughout the entire season. List is ranked eleventh in strokes gained off the tee this season, but more importantly, he has Masters motivation. List is currently ranked 69th in the OWGR and needs to jump 19 spots within the next few weeks to secure a spot in the field. With a few strong starts, he’ll be able to punch his ticket to Augusta. Look for him to use that motivation this week at Bay Hill.
Charley Hoffman ($9,200)
Last but not least we have Hoffman. He is coming off a strong 2016-2017 season, but to this point, he hasn’t been able to replicate that success. While he has missed two of the past four cuts, Hoffman finished 20th in a strong WGC field in Mexico two weeks ago and had success at Bay Hill last year – finishing second. Hoffman doesn’t really pop anywhere statistically, but he has a strong all-around game and should be able to make it to this weekend on a cheap price tag.