The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Arnold Palmer Invitational

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte March 6, 2019 05:02

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Arnold Palmer Invitational

As usual, I am glad that the Honda Classic is done and over with. I thought that last week might go a little bit different for me with the weather being less of a factor than normal, but in the end, PGA National did not fail to challenge even the best players in the event. Do not get me wrong, I think that it is a tremendous course and the lack of birdie opportunities really makes the players grind to keep themselves competitive, but it is one of those places where if a great player is off of his game ever so slightly, things can get away from him quickly.

The tournament got off to a reasonable start for me as none of my golfers hit a land mine on Thursday and through the morning wave on Friday, the first three players in my cash game lineup had solidified their positions well enough so that I had no early worries about the cut line. Unfortunately, Friday afternoon did not go so well as only Jim Furyk managed to play well while CT Pan and Emiliano Grillo went pair shaped early and never really even mustered a charge towards the cut line by the end of the day. Grillo was disappointing as I was hoping he would right the ship and get his putter back on track, but the exact opposite happened and his putter was even worse than what we had seen early on this season. This is now more than a trend. After a dominant year on the greens in 2018, where he ranked 10th on the tour in putting, he is now 216th in 2019 through 21 measured rounds. The ball striking is still really good for the season, but between his troubles around and on the greens, I am just not sure how much I am willing to invest until he starts to turn it around. Right now, he’s playing like Lucas Glover, circa 2015 and if he cannot get it together, there could be a lot more weeks like the last one.

In terms of GPP action, I fought with myself all last week to go big on Rickie and light on JT, but when it came down to it, I could not get away from the form of JT and ended up with him in my core which relegated Rickie to only about a 15% share for my player pool. I definitely missed on Brooks as I did not see that sort of performance coming. The lack of winds certainly played a role, but he looked sharp and calm on Sunday and I thought for certain that he would be the one to finish on top given how well he plays in pressure situations. Not having any shares hurt, but I did not see anything in particular that I loved about his game for PGA National as limited scoring opportunities combined with plenty of blowup potential scared me off.

As far as the core was concerned, we did have a few bright spots with Lucas Glover putting up another nice finish for the week and nearly rallying my 4/6 cash game team into the money as he pulled into a tie for the lead late, but was then passed up by a few other players including the winner, Keith Mitchell. Michael Thompson turned out to not be the chalk bomb that many anticipated at the start of the week and performed really well and contended until late Sunday when he fell back to 16th place, but not bad at all for $8k. Jason Kokrak also continued his strong play for the year in posting a Top-10 finish. His ball striking has been incredible to start the year and he might be one to keep betting on as some weaker field events approach as he looks like the type of player that could win this year if he keeps up his current level of play.

Unfortunately, several big names really let us down last week. Webb Simpson seemed like he would be a great fit again for the course with how he’s been playing his irons of late, but we did not get that at all as his irons were awful and he lost a lot of strokes on his approach shots. Gary Woodland nearly blew the cut, but rallied back and did finish 36th which was a letdown, but not quite as bad as it could have been. Adam Scott also let me down for the week again, missing another cut in agonizing fashion and continued to be a player that just cannot play consistent golf. Obviously, the talent is still there and he pulls it all together every few weeks, but it is excruciating on the weeks where he does not show up. Last week, sloppy approach play and work around the greens buried him as opposed to his putter if that makes anyone feel any better about a missed cut. I am not giving up hope yet as his price is going to be attractive in some of these loaded fields coming up and we’re going to get a few GPP shares to play with. He always has Top-10 upside potential so while he is not someone we should trust in cash, we should be looking at him closely for GPP play, especially on tough courses where his tee to green game really stands out.

All in all, it was a disappointing week and my six week win streak in cash games was snapped in resounding fashion. For me, there are two events each season in Florida that are always challenging, The Honda Classic and next week at The Players Championship. Remember at the beginning of the year when I encouraged you to build a game plan for the season and outline the events you really want to focus on and also those events where you struggle? Those two are on my list. I know that I need to scale down for those weeks and also to take my exposure in cash games down to a low level. They are always challenging events, even for good golfers and projecting who will make the cut at them has always given me trouble, especially when weather is a factor. I played a little more than I thought I would last week when the weather reports came back so positively, but in the future, the Honda Classic is one where I will tread lightly.

Moving on to the week ahead, the tour moves up the road to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It is not quite the same with Arnie out there in his cart to cheer the players on, but the event itself continues to draw fantastic fields and this one is about as good as I can remember. I had some initial trepidation about the condensed schedule at the beginning of the year, but right now, it is amazing that so many fun events are packed together. With The Players Championship next week and the Match Play event at the end of the month, there are a lot of fun events to keep us busy before Augusta gets here in April.

I always really enjoy the API each year as the field is strong, the course presents a reasonable challenge and usually the best players in the world are battling it out on Sunday along with Matt Every out of nowhere for a couple of years in a row in 2014-15. Sadly, one of those players who has dominated here over the years will not be joining in on the festivities this week as Tiger withdrew on Monday with a stiff neck. It is a smart move on his part as the condensed schedule will not allow for a lot of downtime so anytime something small pops up, the prudent move is to ease off a little bit. For Tiger, everything up to Augusta is about fine tuning his game to make a run at another green jacket.

I will be playing my normal bankroll this week for the API. It is an invitational event so there are only a little over 120 players in the field this week which allows us to get a little more aggressive in GPP contests, but I will still play my normal style for cash games. With pricing pressure coming from the top with the number of high quality players in the field, we can assemble a team this week that should be full of solid names rather than feeling like we are banking on a bunch of iffy players to get to the weekend.

Bay Hill is an Arnold Palmer designed course and is set up to play a little bit like Augusta, but with a little more water and weather to work around. It is a Par 72 setup that plays at over 7,400 yards and is filled with lengthy Par 4’s and each Par 3 playing between 200-231 yards. It reminds me a lot of Augusta in that regard as the main scoring opportunities come on the Par 5 holes while the rest of the course is about avoiding big numbers and grinding out pars. It is also similar to Augusta in that the fairways are generally pretty wide and easy to hit, but the greens are where things get challenging. Though the greens are Bermuda versus the bentgrass of Augusta, they will play fast and there are plenty of runoff areas and bunkers guarding them which, like Augusta, will make scrambling that much more important this week. Check out The First Tee from Adam Daly to get a more in depth look at the course this week and every week as his column is always the first place where I start my research.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee: 10%
Scrambling: 10%
Proximity: 10%
Par 5 Scoring: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte March 6, 2019 05:02

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