Arnold Palmer Golf Classic - Daily Fantasy Sports

Keith Mitchell was able to rebound from a slow start Sunday to come out on top last week at the Honda where he holed a clutch birdie putt on the final hole to hold off Brooks Kopeka and Rickie Fowler for his first PGA Tour victory. This week we will stay in Florida as the Tour moves up to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, here is our course breakdown:

Bay Hill Club and Lodge: Par 72, 7,419 yards. On tap this week is another Florida venue that will predominantly feature water on eight holes to go along with Bermuda greens. Bay Hill differs from last week’s venue in that we will see four par fives, however none are pushovers as water will be an issue and only one of the four sees birdies or better at a rate of higher than 40%. The par threes are also four more holes that require good long iron play as each measures over 200 yards in length. The average driving distance at Bay Hill is about 7 yards shorter than the PGA Tour average on fairways that are about 10% easier than average to hit. In addition, hitting these greens or missing in the right places will be extremely important this week as the areas around the water hazards will be closely mown. Average approach proximity is three feet further from the pin than the Tour average with three putts seen approximately 10% more often. Another thing to pay attention to this week are reports that the rough will be kept longer than we’ve seen in past editions of the API.

In terms of stats, with four par fives and four par threes of over 200 yards I’ll be focusing on proximity from 200+ yards as that distance has made up the vast majority of approaches here at Bay
Hill. With a small premium being placed on distance but accuracy being important as well due to the higher rough length it also makes sense to look at some total driving statistics. Also, we will want to spend some time looking at par five efficiency and strokes gained putting on Bermuda. Keith Mitchell did prove to us again last week that putting surfaces do matter.

Here are our top stats to consider this week:

• Strokes Gained Approach
• Proximity from 200+ yards
• Good Drives Gained
• Par Five Efficiency
• Strokes Gained Putting (Bermuda)

Many of the game’s best are back in action this week as the PGA Tour honors Arnold Palmer. Unfortunately we won’t Tiger Woods this week as he withdrew with a neck injury on Monday. In his absence, Rory McIlroy and OWGR #1 Justin Rose will headline a field that also includes notables such as Rickie Fowler, Brookes Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood, and Hideki Matsuyama. A return to a stronger field event gives us the green light to move back to normal cash game volume so here are three targets for your cash game / single entry tournament lineups on DraftKings:

Upper Mid-Range – Hideki Matsuyama – $9,300
Strokes gained approach has had a higher than normal correlation to success historically at Bay Hill and that’s where Hideki has been on a tear as of late gaining 19 strokes on approach over his last six events. Drilling down further we see that long iron play has been a key component of this success. His course history has been good to average at Bay Hill but if he continues to ride the hot form we should see a finish in the higher end of his range of probabilities.

Low Mid-Range – Ian Poulter – $8,000
When looking at Poulter this week we see strong form intersect with the hometown narrative for this Central Florida resident whose best putting results have historically come on Bermuda. He gained 4.4 strokes on approach last time out at the WCG Mexico and has been very solid as of late from outside of 200 yards with Vegas odds in line with those priced higher than DK. A made cut with top 25 upside will do well to pay off his $8K salary.

Value – Zach Johnson – $7,700
ZJ has been starting to put some solid ball striking rounds together as he gained 7.5 strokes tee to green last week only to give back 7 of those strokes with the flatstick. Historically he has posted some solid finishes at Bay Hill over the years and has been in the top 20% of the field in long iron play, both over the long and short term. As has been said in this article before anytime we see ZJ below $8K on Draftkings on a course he has played well at in the past he’s a great option in cash games.

How we did last week:

Cash/Single Entry Article Plays:
Jason Kokrak – T9
Webb Simpson – T36
Sungjae Im – T51

Optimal Sports Subscribers Core Plays:
Jason Kokrak – T9
Webb Simpson – T36
Sungjae Im – T51
Graeme McDowell – MDF
Russell Knox – T51
Adam Scott – MC

Last Week’s DraftKings Double Up Contest Result: Loss
2018-2019 Season Double Up Record: 12-5
Record in Double Ups Since 1/1/18: 37-15

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