DANE’S DARTS: ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

This week the Tour heads to Arnie’s place for week 2 of the Florida swing. We have a fairly strong field this week as golfers pay tribute to Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill. With this event being an invitational we have a bit smaller number of players at 120. This is the final tune up for everyone before next week’s PLAYERS Championship. 

As always, be sure to check out the RotoPros PGA Preview Show that Chris and I record on Monday evenings. You can find the video version on YouTube via the RotoPros channel and the audio version on the SoundCloud app on the RotoPros page. There we discuss the course and a general overview of our strategy for the week. If you subscribe to the RotoPros channel on YouTube or SoundCloud you will be notified each time a new episode is posted!

As mentioned, my goal for this article is to break down each price range from a strategy/lineup construction standpoint. Once I do that, I will list a couple of my favorite plays in the range. I really want to help you by talking through how we can be different through construction and not necessarily just taking 3-4 < 5% owned players. That is one way I have really improved in DFS golf, understanding that you only must be different to a point. I usually focus on lower entry max GPPs (single entry, 3 maxes, and 5 maxes) but will speak to certain plays that are better in larger fields and cash games.  

 I build my models and do a lot of my early week research over at Gup’s Corner. If you haven’t heard of them, I would highly recommend checking out their products. New this year Gup and the crew released golf tools that include a research center. The research center is where I build my models and where I will reference stat info in each of my articles. Check them out! www.gupscorner.com

COURSE & KEY STATS

Bay Hill is a course that tests every facet of a golfer’s game. It was designed this way by Arnie and has always been a fantastic event that really weeds out guys who are a bit off in that week. This week I really focused on narrowing down my model and my key stats below will reflect that. I think it is important to find guys that are in good recent form coming in since the all around game will be tested.

Long irons are crucial with tons of approach shots coming in from 200+ yards. Players will need to avoid trouble off the tee by being a bit more conservative, which leads to longer approach shots. The rough is usually pretty thick and greens are faster than average. Par 5s will be important for players who want to compete here as they will need to convert on these 4 opportunities, while hopefully treading water on the other holes.  All of this adds up to a winning score usually approaching -15. The cut number we are looking at will most likely be +1 to +2. 

Key Stats

  • SG:Ball Striking (30%)
  • SG:Approach (20%)
  • Par 5 scoring (15%)
  • PROX: 200+ (15%)
  • SG:Total (10%)
  • SG: Putting (10%)
WEATHER

This is another Florida course that relies on wind to be one of its major defenses. This week it looks like it will again play a factor with wind speeds in the mid teens most of the week. Obviously this can change so Chris and I will be sure to keep you updated in the Slack. 

As of now it does look like the only day we can gain an advantage due to the weather is Thursday. Winds look to be 10 mph or below early before moving to 15-20 mph later in the day. This will be especially important for showdown, but we can also add this in and make a few early tee time Thursday stacks for the full tourney as well. This is something I don’t usually do as weather forecasts can change but if one wave ends up getting the short end of the stick then this can pay off for us. I won’t factor this in with the higher priced guys, but will use it as a tiebreaker in some instances with the lower prices ones.

OVERALL STRATEGY

I mentioned it on the show last night with Chris. This week I am leaning towards a stars and scrubs type build. This is due to the fact that I really like a lot of the value we have in the $7K range. I like the idea of either getting up to Rory or squeezing a couple of the $10K guys in my lineup. The balanced build may be contrarian since a lot of people may see the same things I am. 

I received some feedback last week in the survey I put out in the Slack so I want to touch on a couple of those things here. First, the way I see it is I can have a cash core and then mix and match a couple of the players to golfers who are more boom or bust and have some GPP upside. This is especially important in single entries and 3 maxes. As mentioned above, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lineup with all <10% owned golfers to win a GPP. Play the guys you like regardless of ownership and lean to a couple more volatile players in your GPPs. This is something that I will try to touch on in my strategy for each tier as well (is this golfer a steady cash play or are they going to be low owned with boom/bust potential).

$10K + RANGE

I really like this range due to the fact that I really think I can fit them in and feel good about the rest of my lineup. Obviously at the top, Rory McIlory is the top overall play independent of price. If you can get up to him then do it. I plan to have some this weekend due to the value down below. I really like the idea of squeezing in a couple of these $10K guys or 1 of them and 1 in the $9Ks. Ownership should be fairly spread out up here so play your favorite guys. I don’t mind getting into the $10K range in cash this week. Both plays below are viable in all formats this week.

  • Xander Schauffele ($10,000) – This is Xander’s debut here and I believe it is a course that will really fit his game. He ranks 1st in my stat model for the last 24 rounds and has good form coming in. He gained 10.2 strokes on approach in Mexico which is insane. He has been great with his long irons ranking 2nd in the Proximity: 200+ category. His putter left him on Thursday and Friday in Mexico but he found it a bit over the weekend. If he can get that to click he will contend for a win on Sunday.
  • Bryson DeChambeau ($10,600) – He has really found his game recently and should be able to build on these last few tournaments going forward. 5th and 2nd place finishes in his last 2 events, Bryson has turned his game around after struggling to start the season. His newfound length off the tee has been a big factor. He has some good history here including a 2nd place finish in 2018.
$9K RANGE

A balanced build should be a bit contrarian this week so you could start those builds with a player here in this range. I still like going up above but don’t mind going balanced in cash games to get a higher floor.

  • Adam Scott ($9,700) – He has been in good form to start the season, winning at Riviera. He has made the cut in 4 trips here including a 3rd in 2014. His game should suit this place as he is a great iron player. He ranks 3rd in my overall model this week. I don’t mind starting your lineups here or Scott can be your 2nd guy in.

Notables – Patrick Reed

$8K RANGE

This range can fit either build, stars and scrubs or balanced. My favorite play is at the bottom which I will get to in a bit. I could see using a couple of these guys in a balanced cash build.

  • Tyrell Hatton ($8,100) – He is my favorite play here in this range. I really liked the way that he played in Mexico coming off the long layoff due to a wrist injury. Usually after that type of injury it would take a few weeks to get back to that level. Hatton ranks 8th in my overall model. This is his 4th straight year playing here at Bay Hill. He has made the cut in his previous 3 appearances, including a 4th place on debut in 2017. Really like Hatton in all formats this week.
  • Collin Morikawa ($8,400) – I can’t quit this guy. He has been fantastic tee to green and looks to be primed for a big week soon. He ranks 2nd in my last 24 round stat model. Collin actually played here as an amateur in 2018 and was able to make the cut. With his steady play Morikawa is probably more of a cash play but I don’t mind having some GPP shares as well.

Notables: Henrik Stenson (GPP)

$7K RANGE

I really like a lot of this range from the mid $7Ks and down. This is where I think we can find some value that makes fitting in the top guys worth it this week. 

  • Maverick McNealy ($7,400) – He is very much a recent form play for me. Trending very well over the last few events, his all around game has been on. Last week Maverick gained 5 strokes on approach in route to an 11th place finish. Really like this price for the way he is playing and is good for cash and GPPs.
  • Carlos Ortiz ($7,100) – He ranks 12th in my model this week and has also been trending very well tee to green. This is a case where solid recent form meets good course history. Ortiz was 29th a year ago and 21st in 2015. He has been solid all around during his last 3 events but has been especially good in that time frame with his approaches from 200+ yards, ranking 6th in this field. 
  • Harold Varner III ($7,100) –  Harold is another guy that has been getting better and better over the last few events. He ranks 6th in my stat model over the last 12 rounds. Last week he couldn’t get a putt to fall. This course should fit his game and I expect Harold to have a strong week. He is a GPP only play for me.

Notables: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Joaquin Niemann (GPP)

$6K RANGE

I like a few plays down here but I don’t expect that I will have any lineups that have more than 1 player down here in it. I possibly could see doing it if you go mega stars and scrubs. I do see one guy that is cash worthy this week and the rest are GPP only for me.

  • Matthew NeSmith ($6,800) – I really like his recent form and he ranks 10th in my model this week. He played very well in tough conditions last week at the Honda and will need to contend with similar ones this week. He gained 6 strokes on approach last week and will look to build on that. I don’t mind him in cash or GPPs this week. 
  • Matt Wallace ($6,800) – He is a GPP only play for me. In my opinion, Wallace will turn his game around at some point. He has too much talent. Last year he was 6th in his debut at Bay Hill. I feel like his game is getting closer and I want to have a few shares before he breaks out.

Notables: Sebastian Munoz

If you guys have any questions please let me know in the Slack! Be sure to watch or listen to this week’s RotoPros PGA Preview Show where Chris and I break down the course, weather and some of our favorite plays. Also, please join us tomorrow night in the chat for a live “pre lock” type chat. We will talk about the current weather forecast (if changed) and any updated plays we like! See you then!

Thanks for checking out the article and if you have any questions you can hit me up in the RotoPros Slack Chat or on Twitter(@rotopros). If you are not a RotoPros member yet be sure to get over to the site and get your FREE one-week trial! You won’t be disappointed.