WATCH: BAY HILL COURSE PREVIEW
There is a lot of info to digest when researching for golf. Course characteristics can tell us whether we want to favor long hitters, great putters or the best scramblers. Weather is crucial as strong wind early on Thursday would mean we want players teeing off later in the day. Figuring out exactly how good a golfer is relative to his DraftKings salary and the field sounds simple but is crucial.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in every DFS sport, these two topics are a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course and who comes into the event in good form correlate significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
*This tournament has been played at Bay Hill in Orlando since 1979.
ARNOLD PALMER COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Henrik Stenson, $11,500
Stenson’s dominance at Bay Hill is difficult to overstate as his last five finishes here are 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 15th. The Swede also comes into this event in strong recent form with six straight top 10s in events he’s finished. He will likely be very popular even though he costs $900 more than the defending champ, Jason Day.
2. Kevin Na, $7,600
I suspect Kevin Na will go lightly owned as he comes off a 52nd and a missed cut in his last two events. But this is a bounce-back spot for him at a course he’s owned. Na’s last six trips to Bay Hill have resulted in 6th, 14th, 4th, 30th, 2nd and 11th. He’s down $1,100 in salary from last week at the Valspar.
3. Ian Poulter, $6,800
Poulter has made six straight cuts at the Arnold Palmer, a run which includes five finishes inside the top 21. It’s an outlier from his normal form, as he’s made 74.5 percent of cuts on the PGA Tour over the last four seasons. Poulter, who comes in at just $300 over minimum salary, has the seventh-best adjusted round score at this course among players with at least three appearances at Bay Hill (via Fantasy Labs).
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ARNOLD PALMER COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Russell Henley, $7,000
Henley has flirted with the top of the leaderboard in each of his last three events, finishing 9th at Valspar, 43rd at Honda and 16th at the Phoenix Open. But his history at Bay Hill is very concerning. Henley has missed the cut in three of his four appearances here and when he did make the cut (2015) he finished 49th.
2. Webb Simpson, $7,100
Simpson showed his upside with a second-place finish at the Phoenix Open six weeks ago and has made five of six cuts this year. However, he’s struggled badly in recent trips to Bay Hill as he’s finished no better than 36th in his last six trips. That includes three missed cuts, a 43rd and a 68th last year.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Wesley Bryan, $7,100
One of golf’s best prospects, the 26-year-old Bryan was the Web.com Tour’s Player of the Year in 2016. He’s quickly found his footing in the big league and is on an absolute tear over the last month. He finished 4th at the Genesis, 4th at the Honda and then 7th last week at the Valspar. Only Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Tyrell Hatton have better recent adjusted round scores (via Fantasy Labs). However, Bryan remains just $600 over the minimum in this tough field at Bay Hill.
2. Graham DeLaet, $6,800
DeLaet played 21 PGA events last season and only had three top 10s. He has played nine events so far this season and already has three top 10s. So yeah, he’s coming in hot with five straight made cuts. One concern is DeLaet did miss the cut at Bay Hill last year and was 50th in 2013 – his only two appearances here.
3. Adam Hadwin, $8,400
Hadwin is likely to see ownership inflation after winning the Valspar last week. That’s typically a mistake to chase, especially when a guy’s salary goes from $6,800 to $8,400 in a far tougher field. That said, Hadwin has made the cut in all six events he’s played this year and been inside the top 12 three times.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) 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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.