This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club & Lodge - Par 72 - 7,454 yards
Field - 121 Entrants
Purse - $9.3M
Sungjae Im did more than just survive the Bear Trap during Sunday's final round at PGA National as he collected a pair of birdies down the stretch to hold off a surging Mackenzie Hughes and Tommy Fleetwood, who couldn't close the door on a 54-hole lead. Both Fleetwood and Im will be in attendance again this week at Arnie's place for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but a stronger contingent of competitors including names like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka will be joining them. Bay Hill isn't nearly as difficult as PGA National, but plenty of water hazards can still result in the usage of additional ink as big numbers find their way to the scorecard. Long-iron play will be the name of the game in Orlando this week as all four of Bay Hill's par-3s measure over 200 yards while the quartet of par-5s presents valuable birdie opportunities. In terms of a weather advantage, the Thursday morning wave figures to have an upper-hand as heavy winds roll in throughout the afternoon.
Key Stats to Victory
Proximity > 200 yards
SG: Putting (bermuda)
Par-5 birdie or better percentage
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Rory McIlroy - $50
A vast gap exists between Rory McIlroy (5/1) and Tommy Fleetwood (16/1) atop the list of betting favorites according to GolfOdds.com, so spending up for the former seems like a quality investment as McIlroy appears to be well overdue for a victory at this point. He's placed top-5 in six consecutive international starts dating back to the Zozo Championship, securing the Official World Golf Rankings' No. 1 spot in the process. McIlroy has gone T6-Win-T4 at Bay Hill the past three years and he paces this week's field in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 36 measured rounds. Additionally, McIlroy ranks third in par-3 scoring and first in par-5 scoring this season.
Bryson DeChambeau - $40
DeChambeau fell three shots shy of the aforementioned McIlroy en route to solo runner-up honors at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the former has made the cut in each of his first three appearances at Arnie's place. DeChambeau has gained a whopping total of 15.2 strokes off the tee throughout his last three measured starts, while he also ranks eighth on Tour in birdie average, 20th in scrambling and fourth in par-3 scoring.
Xander Schauffele - $40
Schauffele will be making his Bay Hill debut this week, but a lot of experience at the API shouldn't scare gamers away from someone who's positioned inside of the top-10 on Tour in GIR percentage, SG: Approach, SG: Off-the-Tee, scrambling and par-5 scoring average. Schauffele gained an insane 10.2 strokes on his approaches at the WGC-Mexico Championship alone, he'll simply need to sink a few more putts in order to contend in Orlando. If positive regression with the flat stick is on the horizon, watch out for Schauffele.
Marc Leishman - $35
The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational champion is a collective 31-under-par at Bay Hill since 2016, and expectedly windy conditions throughout Thursday's first round could give Leishman an advantage prior to the 36-hole cut. Leishman grades second among the field in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds, but he's also fifth on Tour in fairway proximity and second in proximity from 225-250 yards. Continued brilliance with his long irons would certainly be key for Leishman this week.
Tyrrell Hatton - $32
In his very first start following an offseason that included wrist surgery, Hatton paced the entire field in SG: Tee-to-Green at the WGC-Mexico Championship on the way to a T6 finish. He also gained an average of 7.7 feet in proximity on approaches from 175-200 yards and 5.7 feet on approaches from 200-plus yards at the Club de Golf Chapultepec. Hatton has never missed a cut at Bay Hill and he even tied for fourth here in 2017.
Byeong-Hun An - $31
An probably would have won the Honda Classic if it weren't for such a brutal first-round performance, as he bounced back from a six-over 76 on Thursday by playing his final 54 holes in a collective nine-under-par. He would end the tournament fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green, second in scrambling, first in sand-save percentage and even ninth in putts per GIR while surprisingly gaining strokes with the putter in each of his last three rounds. An has collected back-to-back top-15s at the API and he's gained an average of 5.4 strokes from tee to green per event over his past five starts.
Max Homa - $25
Homa will tee it up at Arnie's place for the first time in his career as he heads to Bay Hill riding a streak of four straight top-15s from the Farmers Insurance Open through the Genesis Invitational, but he should be well-rested after spending the past two weeks away from competition. Over his last 12 rounds, Homa ranks 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green, sixth in SG: Putting, 19th in GIR percentage and 18th in P3: 200-225 efficiency.
Maverick McNealy - $20
Despite his rookie status on the PGA Tour, McNealy actually won't be a first-timer at Bay Hill as he played in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational back when he was still a member of Stanford's golf team, and he even made the cut before finishing the week in red numbers at three-under-par. More recently, McNealy has emerged with 11 consecutive made cuts and a trio of top-15s in his last four starts. He just gained over five strokes on his approach shots at the Honda Classic and he's gained strokes from tee to green in six straight measured events.
Talor Gooch - $20
Gooch is on a run similar to that of McNealy's as the former has gone 11 straight starts without a missed cut as well, but Gooch also grades out well in windy conditions and he was stellar from 175-plus yards last week at the Honda Classic. Gooch owns a T26 finish here at Bay Hill in his lone career appearance, nearly grabbing a share of the 18-hole lead at the 2018 API with a first-round 65.