The Florida swing continues this week with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill (par 72, 7,466 yards, Bermuda greens) in Orlando. This difficult par 72 has hosted this event every year since 1979, and last season, Bryson DeChambeau came out victorious at -11, edging out Lee Westwood by one shot. Due to a hand injury, DeChambeau will not be defending his title at Arnie’s place this week and while we saw the bomber overpower this course during his win last year, Bay Hill isn’t a course that requires distance for success. Before DeChambeau, three of the previous four champions in Orlando didn’t gain strokes OTT and using less than driver at this venue is a common strategy with the rough extremely penalizing. While the greens are larger than the PGA TOUR average at Bay Hill, being dialed in with your irons is a must to contend at this track. Over the last five years, four API winners have finished the tournament inside the top-13 in SG APP. As a par 72, there are four par fives to attack at Bay Hill, and these four holes rank as the four easiest on the scorecard. Exposing these par fives for at least a birdie will be critical and being efficient on the four par fours that range from 450-500 yards will also be important. Five of the 10 par fours land in this range and two of the past four golfers to pick up a win in Orlando have led their fields in SG on these specific holes. Lastly, three of the past five victors at Bay Hill have ranked in the top five in SGP during their wins, and targeting above-average putters who own encouraging splits on Bermuda is a wise move.
As an invitational, there will only be 120 players competing this week. However, there will still be a top-65 and ties cut line following the first two rounds, meaning a higher percentage of the field than usual will be advancing to the weekend. While DeChambeau will be absent, this is still a highly talented field, with four of the top-10 golfers in the world teeing it up, including world No. 1 Jon Rahm. So, without further ado, below are four of my favorite value plays of the week that cost less than $7.5K on DraftKings for the API.
Tom Hoge, $7,300
Hoge is in the midst of an excellent season, making 10/14 cuts with three top-five finishes, including the first PGA TOUR victory of his career just last month at Pebble Beach. Hoge impressively ranks third in SG APP this season and comes into this week gaining over three strokes with his flat stick in two of his past three starts.
The 32-year-old’s best career putting splits come on Bermuda and he has made 2/3 cuts at Bay Hill, with both finishes coming inside the top-30. Hoge brings tremendous upside for a player so cheap and is a tough value to overlook at only $7,300.
Kevin Na, $7,400
Disregard that Na missed the cut at the Genesis in his last start and trust the veteran at this depressed salary. While he was sent home early from Riviera CC that week, Na still gained strokes with his irons for the third consecutive start. Furthermore, before that mishap, Na made 10 of his previous 11 cuts, with eight top-25 finishes coming during this run.
To put the icing on the cake, Na has proceeded to the weekend in nine of his last 11 appearances at Bay Hill, including six top-30 finishes.
Lanto Griffin, $7,100
Griffin arrives in Orlando as the maker of 10 of his past 11 cuts. During this run, the 33-year-old has flashed great upside, finishing in the top-20 on four occasions. Plus, Griffin’s irons have been terrific as of late, gaining strokes on APP at four of his past five events, and he ranks 19th in SGP when we compare this field’s last 24 rounds.
Griffin has finished T36th and T21st at the last two APIs and is an immense value at this low price point, which is the cheapest he has been on DraftKings in eight starts.
Andrew Putnam, $6,900
In just his second attempt at Bay Hill last season, Putnam had a stellar week, finishing in a tie for fourth place. The 33-year-old gained over three strokes from T2G and on APP, and generated a whopping 6.1 strokes on these Bermuda greens, good enough to rank him fourth in the stat for the event.
Now, Putnam makes his return to Arnie’s place with a 9/12 record in terms of made cuts this season. In his last five starts, Putnam has carded three top-30 finishes and he also ranks ninth in SG APP and 10th in SGP over his past 24 rounds. This combination of strong irons and a hot putter should translate into more success for Putnam at Bay Hill, and he shouldn’t be a player that gains much attention in GPPs this week.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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