Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill - Par 72 - 7,419 yards
Field - 120 entrants
Purse - $8.9M
Chiseled into the game of golf’s Mount Rushmore for plenty of fans, the late Arnold Palmer had hosted Bay Hill’s PGA Tour stop for many years until his passing. Also known as “Arnie’s place,” the show must go on as Bay Hill entertains 120 entrants in this week’s revered field, highlighted by the likes of Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. One of the main storylines involves Tiger’s prowl for that first victory to officially prove that he is indeed “back.” Also of note is the anticipated return of world No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama, who’s been sidelined since early February’s Waste Management Phoenix Open due to a wrist injury. In terms of key stats, par-five scoring and GIR percentage have been crucial, while putting should also not be overlooked due to firm and fast greens. Both temperatures and wind should gradually rise throughout the week, but expect little to no precipitation.
2017- Marc Leishman
2016 - Jason Day
2015 - Matt Every
2014 - Matt Every
2013 - Tiger Woods
2012 - Tiger Woods
2011 - Martin Laird
2010 - Ernie Els
2009 - Tiger Woods
2008 - Tiger Woods
FantasyDraft Value Picks - based on $100,000 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Tiger Woods - $17,000
Woods could potentially be considered a bit overpriced on FantasyDraft compared to several other DFS platforms, but the eight-time API champion is also the heavy betting favorite at 6-1 on GolfOdds.com. His insane track record at Bay Hill combined with two top-12 finishes in his last two starts at the Valspar Championship and Honda Classic would call for incredibly inflated ownership for the world’s most popular golfer if he weren’t a bit overpriced, so I think FantasyDraft got it right here. He’s up to 11th on Tour in SG: Total, while another solid all-around week at Arnie’s place could result in Woods’ first win since 2013.
Justin Rose - $16,700
The Englishman’s short game was dialed in at Innisbrook last week before a final-round 72 ultimately kept him from contention down the stretch, but Rose’s T5 marked his second top-eight finish in his last three starts. He's placed T13-T9-MC-2 in his last four appearances at the API.
Tommy Fleetwood - $15,900
Fleetwood could’ve cruised away with a victory during his API debut last year if it weren’t for a first-round 78, as he played his final three rounds in a combined 12-under-par to salvage a top-10 finish while champion Marc Leishman won with an overall score of 11-under. Fleetwood has finished T14 or better in six of his last seven starts, while he’s also second on Tour in SG: T2G. The Englishman has yet to win on American soil, but this could be the week Fleetwood proves himself worthy of a top-10 spot in the OWGR.
Marc Leishman - $14,800
Leishman crushed it on the par-fives at Bay Hill en route to his victory at the API last year, and although he doesn’t own impeccable recent form as of late, a sub-$15K price tag shouldn’t go unnoticed for the No. 16 ranked player in the OWGR. He’s 12th on Tour in birdie or better percentage, 15th in rough proximity and ninth in proximity from 175-200 yards.
Luke List - $14,200
List has rattled off five straight finishes of T26 or better as he currently resides in the top-70 of the OWGR for the first time in his career. Not only is he third on Tour in driving distance, but he’s also 23rd in birdie average and 17th in SG: T2G. Look for List to stay hot at Bay Hill this week, where he placed T17 during his API debut in 2017.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat - $14,100
Aphibarnrat traveled to the tiny nation of Brunei this past week for the Richard Mille Brunei Championships of the Asian Development Tour, where he was not only the featured entrant, but eventual champion by a whole six strokes at 23-under-par. He’s now up to a pair of wins in his last four starts, having won the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth last month as well. Aphibarnrat also placed T5 at the WGC-Mexico Championship, while he’s ascended to a career-best 31st in the OWGR. He finished T6 in both 2015 and 2016 during his only two starts at the API.
Zach Johnson - $14,000
Johnson will be making his 15th career appearance at the API this week, while he’s missed just one cut in 14 tries and notched five top-10s at Bay Hill. In terms of recent form, he’s been quite solid with seven top-25s in his past eight starts, but just one top-10 at the RSM Classic. Johnson also played his last three rounds at the Valspar in a combined five-under-par as he bounced back from a first-round 73, carding just four total bogeys from Friday through Sunday.
Emiliano Grillo - $14,000
Grillo heads to Bay Hill on the heels of back-to-back top-eight finishes at the Hero Indian Open and Honda Classic, where he led the field in birdies and fired a final-round 66. The 25-year-old Argentinian owns just two career appearances at Bay Hill, but he produced with finishes of T7-T17 the past two years. He’s ranked 18th or better on Tour in both GIR percentage and SG: Putting, which is a formula that works just about anywhere.
Francesco Molinari - $13,800
Since 2010, Molinari is second to only Henrik Stenson in terms of overall scoring in relation to par at Bay Hill. The Italian is 35-under-par in his last 20 rounds at the API, including three top-10 finishes in his last four appearances at the event. Molinari most recently posted his first top-25 of 2018 at the WGC-Mexico Championship, while he currently ranks 15th on Tour in SG: T2G and is top-10 in terms of proximity from 175-plus yards out.