Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational
2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational Fantasy Preview
Golf is a funny game.
In our preview of last week’s Honda Classic, we mused that the cream tends to rise to the top at a layout like PGA National, where the complexity of the test tends to sort the metaphorical men from the boys.
The presence of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler aside, this was a leaderboard that brought together all manner of weird and wonderful talents; aided by the soft and largely wind-free conditions.
Major champions Vijay Singh and Lucas Glover jostled their way into contention on a hectic Sunday in which six players shared the lead at one point, but in the end it was the unlikeliest of winners that got the job done.
Keith Mitchell, with his formline of MC-MC-73-MC-16-MC-65, wasn’t supposed to win; especially given that he has never won at pro level before.
But the likeable 27-year-old played the back nine in -3 – including surviving the feared Bear Trap with -1 – to clinch his first senior-level title of any kind. Not bad, when you consider the calibre of the chasing pack.
Keith Mitchell wins the Honda Classic during the final round at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 3 in West Palm Beach, FL. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Mitchell may be at the start of his golfing career, but this week we celebrate the life of a man who achieved everything the sport has to offer.
Arnold Palmer was known as ‘The King’ for good reason, and the seven-time major champion – who sadly passed away in 2016 – is commemorated in this week’s event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A labor of love for the great man was this Bay Hill Club layout in Orlando, which takes on hosting duties as it has since the 1970s.
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
With Mitchell winning the top prize, it came down to Brooks and Fowler, two guys we were not playing last week. Our top finish was our mid-tier Sleeper Report pick Lucas Glover at T4.
Time to dig deep and pull a gem of redemption out of Bay Hill this week.
Keith Mitchell celebrates after making a birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 03, 2019 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational Field
It’s unlikely that the legendary Arnie P ever found himself performing Milkshake by Kelis on the old karaoke, but it would be apt given the quality of field that will assemble in Orlando thanks to having his name on the tournament sheet.
Six of the world’s top ten, according to the OWGR, will take to the tee, including defending champion Rory McIlroy, the US Open and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and FedExCup holder Justin Rose.
Althoug Tiger Woods came in with a late Monday WD, former champions Jason Day, Marc Leishman and – in a bizarre twist that still confuses to this day – Matt Every will all be joining the field this week.
Major winners Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Francesco Molinari will also be looking to make their mark at the famous track, while Vijay Singh – the winner here in 2007 – has been given an invite thanks to his top-10 at PGA National last time out.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after almost making an eagle putt on the 15th hole green during the final round of the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship at Club de Golf… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
When he purchased the facility in 1976, Arnold Palmer got his hands on a rather nondescript layout.
But thanks to his dedication and eye for what makes a great track, the King turned Bay Hill into a layout that has hosted a flagship PGA TOUR event for four decades.
One of the most recent overhauls, which came in 2014, saw fairways widened and tress removed, and the previously very tough track became much easier, with winning scores of -11, -17, -18 and -19 testament to that.
But there are still plenty of challenges awaiting the players at this 7,419 yard Par 72. Water is in play on ten holes, and there are lots of bunkers peppering the layout. Doglegging holes also test the ball striking and course management skills of the field.
The Bermuda greens, which are a decent size and tend to run at a steady 11.5 on the stimp, offer up no major problems.
So what are the layout’s key defenses? Well, the wind tends to be a factor, as it often does in Florida events, and mention should also be made of the four Par 4s: these measure a lengthy 199, 215, 221 and 231 yards respectively, and so aren’t for the faint of heart.
That said, each of the quartet of Par 5s can be breached in three by most in the field, so knowing when to strike – and when to batten down the hatches – is key at Bay Hill.
Tiger Woods walks to the seventh green during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Orlando, FL
There has been rain around in Bay Hill during the early part of the week, but that is expected to move away and leave behind perfect golfing conditions.
Sunny and warm – with temperatures expected to reach 86 degrees by Sunday, the field can expect to enjoy much more agreeable weather than they have elsewhere of late.
And the wind shouldn’t be too much of a factor either, with the early forecast suggesting speeds of between 8-11 mph across the four days.
Last Year’s Results from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
In the end, nobody could keep up with the hot streak of Rory McIlroy.
The Irishman posted a perfect, bogey-free final round of 64 to leave the field trailing in his wake, and not even a 67 or 68 from Justin Rose or Bryson DeChambeau could stop him.
Incredibly, McIlroy was six shots adrift of leaders DeChambeau and Henrik Stenson at the halfway stage, but a third round of 67 got him back into the mix before his Sunday heroics completed the mission.
Tiger Woods, playing some of his best golf since returning from multiple surgeries, ended up in T5 alongside Ryan Moore, with Stenson in solo fourth, Rose in third and DeChambeau second and three shots adrift of the champion.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Arnold Palmer Invitational this Week
DraftKings have already published some of the details of their slate for THE PLAYERS Championship next week, which includes a $1m ‘Fifth Major’ special. The good news is that they haven’t glossed over the Arnold Palmer Invitational with an almost as lucrative slate!
- PGA $600k Drive the Green: An extra $100k has been added to the Drive the Green contest this week, which means the winner will trouser a cool $150k for their $5 buy in!
- PGA $350k Pressure Putt: If you have a steady $444 sitting in your bankroll then this could be the contest to roll it out for: you could win $100k, with just 874 other teams to battle it out against.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Is it any coincidence that Rory McIlroy won so well 12 months ago while ranking first for Driving Distance?
Perhaps, perhaps not, but one thing that he shares with previous winners Marc Leishman and Jason Day is that they – on their day – all hit the ball straight and a long way too.
There is a certain premium on finding fairways – McIlroy hit 64% last year – and that’s because strong putters have also thrived at Bay Hill, so ideally you need to be getting your approaches as close as possible.
The Irishman, not always the strongest with the flat stick, found a hot streak here 12 months ago as did Leishman a year prior to him. Day is a machine on the greens come what may.
There are two scoring metrics to consider at opposite ends of the spectrum: avoiding bogeys on the long Par 3s, and making hay on the Par 5s. In both cases, players comfortable hitting 200-yard approaches will thrive – ideally with a higher degree of loft, so again longer hitters can prosper at Bay Hill.
And this is Florida golf, so being able to putt on Bermuda and handle a wind – even if the forecast suggests fairly benign conditions this week – is a must.
If you are looking for correlating courses, not much springs to mind but you could make a case for TPC Boston, host of the Dell Technologies Championship. That too was designed by Arnold Palmer, and there are examples of success at both: McIlroy and Tiger Woods have won here and there, Justin Rose has finished runner-up at both, Charley Hoffman has won at TPC Boston and finished second at Bay Hill as has Henrik Stenson, while Jason Day has won here and finished in the silver medal position in Boston.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Arnold Palmer Invitational
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2018-2019)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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