What a weekend. Even though there wasn’t much hype about him going into the week, Tiger came out and proved to us that he is very close to being fully back, making a charge on Sunday and finishing in second place at The Valspar Championship, which was his first time playing at The Copperhead Course. Paul Casey won the event, beating Tiger and Patrick Reed by one stroke, finishing at -10. Now, with him playing at a very high level and the whole golf world talking about him being back, The Tour makes it’s way to Orlando, Florida for The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Golf Club, which is a course where Tiger has won at eight times in his career. This track is a par 72, that measures in at 7,419 yards long. Marc Leishman is the defending champ, ending the week at -11 last season. This course is a decently tough test for the players, mostly due to the water that is in play on eight of the 18 holes.
Length off the tee isn’t really needed. It is more is about staying out of trouble and setting yourself up with a good look at the green. Strong iron players tend to have success at this track and it may be obvious with any golf course, but finding the green consistently is very important. Leishman lead the field in GIR last season and three of the last five winners have ranked in the top ten in greens hit during their wins. So, not only will I be looking at approach stats and GIR, but I think it makes sense to look at ball striking, as it combines GIR and total driving. The par fives here are where most of these golfers will do their damage. Leishman ranked second in par five scoring and all of the last five winners have shot -9 or better on these holes, with Tiger leading the field in this stat in his back to back wins in 2012 and 2013. This is a field of 120 players, with a top 70 and ties making the cut. It is a decently strong field with some big names like Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rory McIroy, Rickie Fowler, and of course Tiger Woods all teeing it up. It should be a very fun event to watch and I feel comfortable using a normal amount of bankroll this week. @Hunta512.
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Kevin Na: (7,100) Na really hurt me last week withdrawing before he even teed off for round one with a neck injury, but he said on his Instagram he should be back for this week and he is now officially listed in the field for The Arnold Palmer. It seems that the neck injury was just a small speed bump and he should be ready to continue his cut streak this week. Before the WD at The Valspar, Na was trending up, making four straight cuts, including a T20 at The AT&T Pebble Beach and then a T2 at The Genesis Open the following week. Over his last 12 rounds of golf, he ranks 46th in SGT2G, 46th strokes gained approaching, 85th in GIR, 88th in ball striking, 56th in BOB%, 6th in bogeys avoided, 45th in par four scoring, 8th in par five scoring, and 6th in SGP. (via Fantasy National)
His great play on par fives and how well he has been avoiding bogeys will be key for him this week at Bay Hill. This is going to be his tenth time playing in this event and for his career he is 6/9 in made cuts, with three top tens. I am expecting a made cut from him and he should come with a decently low ownership in GPPs after ruining many peoples lineups at The Valspar. His current price tag is down after the injury last week, making Na a very nice bargain at only $7,100.
Zach Johnson: (7,700) ZJ quietly has been posting very nice finishes this season. He hasn’t missed a cut all year and he has finished inside the top 25 in six of his last seven starts. His form this season fits Bay Hill well, with him ranking 15th in SGT2G, 8th in strokes gained on approach, 37th in GIR, 17th in ball striking, 27th in BOB%, 5th in bogeys avoided, 13th in par four scoring, 36th in par five scoring, and 48th in SGP. (via Fantasy National)
His track record is great at this venue, making the cut the last seven seasons and 13 for 14 for his career, with five top tens. He finished T16 last week and I feel like soon he has to break out and post a very high finish. This very well could be the week with plenty of success at Bay Hill in his corner and I think Johnson is a fine value play, that I feel confident with in both cash games and GPPs.
Patton Kizzire: (7,300) After letting many DFS players down at The Honda Classic, Kizzire rebounded with a T12 finish at The WGC Mexico Championship. The MC at The Honda is just a small blemish to this great season Kizzire is having. He has made 9/11 cuts, with six top 20s, including two wins. His stats have been excellent this season, ranking 47th in SGT2G, 21st in strokes gained approaching, 16th in GIR, 31st in ball striking, 11th in par four scoring, 8th in par five scoring, 4th in BOB%, 4th in bogeys avoided, and 6th in SGP. (via Fantasy National) He played here last season and missed cut in his first attempt at Bay Hill, but he is playing at a completely different level this season.
Going into this event last year, he had only made five of ten cuts, with only one top ten compared to the six he has posted this season. The fact that he has not had any success in this event might keep his ownership lower than it should be (5-8% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), especially with a more popular name in Francesco Molinari sitting right there at the same price. If he makes the cut, which I think he will, Kizzire has really nice upside and he is one of my favorite GPP targets of the week.
Also Consider: Emiliano Grillo (T17 and T7 the last two seasons at Bay Hill and is coming off back to back top tens), Byeong-Hun An (2/3 at this course and should be low owned after missing the cut at The Valspar), James Hahn (his form is really coming together, ranking 4th in SGT2G, 6th in strokes gained approaching, and 5th in BOB% in his last 12 rounds. He missed the cut in his first two tries here, but he finished T49 last season), Charles Howell III (15/17 in made cuts at Bay Hill), Keegan Bradley (his strong iron game continued last week with a T31 at The Valspar. He is 5/6 here and has decent odds of 66/1 for his price), and Bryson DeChambeau (T27th here in 2016 should be extremely low owned as he is dealing with a back injury that forced him to WD last week. I wouldn’t play him much, but at this price he is worth a gamble with a low expected ownership of only 2-4% in GPPs)