Because of a February-March schedule crowded with WGCs and “elevated status” events, the field at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational is a bit weaker than usual. Only five of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be making the trip to Orlando.
Host course Bay Hill, a par 72 at just over 7,400 yards, has four reachable par 5s. Taking advantage of those opportunities will be crucial. Players will also need to be dialed in with their mid- to long irons because all four of the par 3s are 195 yards or longer and six of the par 4s are over 440 yards.
Here are some players to consider for DraftKings and one-and-done leagues this week:
Sam Burns $8,400
Burns held the lead on the back nine at the Genesis Invitational two weeks ago but couldn’t seal the deal. At Bermudagrass-based Bay Hill, he should be even more comfortable. Burns is second in par-5 scoring, fifth in birdies, eighth off the tee, 12th in putting (but second in Bermudagrass putting), and 15th on approach. He has finished in the top 40 in 13 of his past 17 events.
Cameron Davis $7,900
The No. 1 overall player in my model this week, Davis is first in birdies, third in par-5 scoring, seventh in long irons, 10th off the tee, and 18th on approach. He has finished in the top 40 in 16 of his past 24 events. On a side note, his Aussie countrymen Marc Leishman and Jason Day are former Arnold Palmer Invitational champions. Could Davis join them this week?
Hovland has been a machine in his past four events, finishing second, fifth, sixth, and second. In each of his past three events, he has gained at least seven shots off the tee and on approach combined. In this week’s field, Hovland ranks eighth in birdies, ninth off the tee, 10th in par-5 scoring, and top 20 with irons from 150 yards and beyond. I’d expect yet another top 10 from him at Bay Hill.
Last week, on his way to a second-place finish at the WGC-Workday Championship, Horschel looked to be in fantastic form, gaining strokes in every category. In particular, he is driving the ball at an elite level right now. While not long off the tee, he is hitting almost every fairway, which bodes well for him at Bay Hill. Horschel has gained at least four shots off the tee in each of his past two events, which is crazy considering his below-average distance. The last time he achieved the same statistical feat in consecutive events was in 2013! If he continues to flush his driver like that, he’s destined for a high finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.