This week, the PGA Tour makes the short trek from Palm Beach Gardens to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Host course Bay Hill, a par 72 at just over 7,400 yards, has four reachable par 5s, and 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 a few players who should thrive at this type of test:
Matthew Fitzpatrick $9,200
If I asked you to guess who leads the API field in par-5 scoring, you probably wouldn’t guess Matthew Fitzpatrick, but you should. He also ranks in the top 20 off the tee, in birdies, on the greens, and in scoring on par 3s over 200 yards. Because of this skill set, he has finished in the top 10 in each of the past three years at Bay Hill. While Fitz isn’t a sexy play, he’s coming off of back-to-back top 10s, and this is a very good course for him.
Paul Casey $8,300
Casey ranks first overall in approach, fourth in approach from 200+ yards, fifth in par-5 scoring, and 12th in par-3 scoring from 200+ yards. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has finished in the top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in two of his past three appearances. His incoming form reminds me a lot of Lowry’s last week; Casey has played in four events and finished between 12th and 24th in all of them.
Keith Mitchell $8,100
Mitchell ranks second off the tee, third in par-5 scoring, third in par-3 scoring from 200+ yards, 12th in birdies, and 14th in proximity from 200+ yards. Like Casey, he has done well at Bay Hill, finishing sixth or better in two of his past three appearances. He’s also in great form, having placed 12th or better in four of his past five starts.