The PGA Tour makes the short trek this week from Palm Beach Gardens to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. This course annually provides one of the sternest tests on Tour as it rewards the most elite ball striking. Scores can be high, especially if it gets firm and windy as expected. The par-72 layout is a bit different than most stops on Tour as we get four reachable par 5s and four par 3s, all of which play 200+ yards most days. This means that you could see close to half the approach shots for some players come with mid to long irons, something you don’t see often on Tour. Let’s take a look at three players who excel in that area:
Sungjae Im $8,900
This is a good buy-low spot for Sungjae after a lackluster 42nd-place finish at the Honda Classic. Im ranks fifth this week in my data model as he is top-15 in off the tee, birdies, par-five scoring, approach from 200+ yards, and par-three scoring from 200+ yards. In his four appearances, he has never finished worse than 21st and has two third-place finishes. The $8,900 price is more than reasonable in a field of this caliber.
Tom Kim $8,400
Kim ranks 10th overall in my data model this week. He ranks top-15 in approach, birdies, approach from 200+ yards, and par-three scoring from 200+ yards. The $8,400 is a cheap price for a player who has won multiple times in the last year and is on the precipice of stardom. This will be his first trip around Bay Hill but it should be one of the courses that suit him best on Tour.
Tom Hoge $7,300
Hoge ranks 25th overall this week based on my data, and that provides value at $7,300 in and of itself. He ranks top 15 in approach, approach from 200+ yards, and par-3 scoring from 200+ yards. In his four appearances at this event, he has three top-32 finishes. Another finish of that caliber will more than pay off his cheap salary this week.