This week we head to Bay Hill in Orlando to pay our respect to the G.O.A.T. of golf, Arnold Palmer. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day (reigning champion), Henrik Stenson and Hideki Matsuyama are 4 out of the top 5 golfers in the world playing the event. While there are some players missing in the top 25 world golf rankings due to scheduling, we still have a fairly strong field. There have been a number of articles posted in the recent weeks about the future of this event. A large number of players on the tour do not like this course and have not been playing it on a yearly basis. This has caused concern for the tournament going forward. Lets get into the preview at Bay Hill. THIS ONE IS FOR YOU ARNIE, R.I.P.
Bay Hill is a Par 72 that plays at 7,381 yards with over 100 bunkers and 9 holes with water in play. Greens are the typical Bermuda grass that we find at all the courses in Florida. It is important to note that these greens were reseeded two years ago to improve the quality as there were complaints that they were “aesthetically weak.” There are four Par 5’s on the course and a majority are reachable. This has led to Bay Hill generally being the lowest scoring course on the Florida swing.
2016 Jason Day
2015 Matt Every
2014 Matt Every
2013 Tiger Woods
2012 Tiger Woods
2011 Martin Laird
2010 Ernie Els
There are a few key statistics that we will be emphasizing this week. With four Par 5’s at Bay Hill, we want to target players that will have excellent Par 5 scoring. Most of these par 5’s are reachable. This means we should target the players that can put themselves in position for those eagles we are looking for in Draftkings scoring.
Another key statistic that we have really been emphasizing in the Florida swing is SG: Tee to Green. We want the ball strikers that come into the tournament in great recent form for SG: Tee to Green. This shows that the players are excelling in all aspects of the game from Off the Tee, Approach, and Around the Green. With the difficult to hit greens, it will be important to target the superior ball strikers.
As we mentioned earlier, Bay Hill is generally the lowest scoring of the Florida swing. This may not be the case this year as the wind has decided not to show up at the Honda Classic and the players are tearing up the Snake Pit at the Valspar Championship. Since the scores will be low, we want to target players that have good Birdie or Better % (BoB%).
The final statistic that we are looking at is the Proximity > 200 as there will be plenty of long iron shots. The players that are hitting the long irons well will put themselves in great looks for birdies and eagles.
Hole #4 : Par 5, 561 yards
The fourth hole is a Par 5 that measures 561 yards. It plays uphill with uneven fairways and water running along the right side of the fairway. It is reachable in two for the bombers. Players that cannot reach in two need to avoid the pair of bunkers on the left side of the fairway. Regardless of whether you go for the green in two or not, the green is very narrow in depth. Accuracy is a must into this elevated target just to reach par, but birdies are available for the ball strikers.
Hole #6 : Par 5, 555 yards
This sixth hole par 5 is demanding for every shot as you approach the green. This hole has spelled disaster for players over the years. It once took 18 strokes to get the ball in the cup for John Daly years ago. It is tough to reach the green in two due to the heavy curving dogleg. We are going to want to target guys that hit fairways and long irons accurately this week.
Hole #18 : Par 4, 458 yards
Hole 18 is a par 4 that runs 458 yards to finish the round. There is OB along the entire left side and water that creeps into the right side in front of the green. If players miss the fairway right it is a scary second shot at the green over the water. The smart play is to layup towards the left front of the green.
There was much controversy in players pulling out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to scheduling issues. However, we still have a relatively strong field this week. The field is highlighted by defending champion Jason Day. Jason Day WD from the WGC Mexico Championship due to flu-like symptoms. Jason Day has had a rocky start to 2017 with one top 10 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a missed cut. It is hard to play the former World No. 1 with a deep field of players coming into the tournament in great form.
If you were heavy on Henrik Stenson the past 2 weeks, it is highly likely that you won’t hop off the Stenson train. Stenson has been a freaking animal at Bay Hill with FOUR straight top 10’s and 7/7 cuts made. Hop on the train and enjoy the ride.
Hideki Matsuyama generally garners lower ownership in a deeper field like this and could be a solid GPP play depending on where he is priced at on Draftkings. He has a 6th and 21st at Bay Hill. He followed up his win at the Phoenix Open with a MC at genesis and a 25th at the WGC Mexico Championship so I’m not too sure people will be keen on rostering him making him an interesting GPP play.
Rory McIlroy had a solid outing at the WGC: Mexico Championship in which he faltered on Sunday. Part of that might have been due to fatigue, altitude, Montezuma’s revenge, who knows?!? We do know that he showed glimpses of being back to the dominant Rory we knew.
Others with solid Course History:
Poulter: 6/7 made cuts
Molinari: 4/4 made cuts – 3 straight top 20s
Scott: 3/4 made cuts – Finished 3rd 4 years ago
Horschel: 4/4 made cuts – might be able to by low after Valspar bust, high risk
Howell III: 7/7 made cuts
Laird: 7/7 made cuts with a victory
Zach Johnson – Back to Back top 10s
Rose: Top 15 4/5 last tries
Bradley: 4 straight made cuts
We will provide our Draftkings strategy on Tuesday once prices have been released.