This is it!!!! The week that many circled on their calendars… The first time that Arnold Palmer will not be here. An emotional week for many myself included. I will say that although I never knew the King personally we met back in 2009 as a PGA professional and marketing director and he played in a Pro-Am here in Myrtle Beach. He couldn’t be more then gracious with his time and I felt honored to be a part of the event with him there.
As for the Fantasy week we all face and with the event being hosted at Bay Hill for such a long time, we have a lot of data and course history to sift through. There are a lot of players who have had success at this track over the years which will make this week’s decisions very difficult.
There is a lot of value in some of the Fantasy Golf money leagues this week so I have three players that you can stack together and still have plenty of money left over for some of the top players in the field.
Charles Howell III
Howell is an absolute stud at this event and a must play this week. He should be priced higher if you ask me so take advantage this week. He has recorded top 50 finishes in his last 7 starts at Bay Hill. He has made 10 consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour with seven top 15’s in that span. He will pretty much guarantee you a cut made and a decent chance at a top 25 finish which is more than you can ask for at his current purchase.
He’s fresh off a missed cut at the Valspar which may temper his ownership percentage this week a bit. I’m giving Na a pass on his performance last week due to the fact that he was sick the entire week and was forced to withdraw from the Pro-Am at the Valspar. Prior to last week, Na made all of his cuts in 2017 including two top 20 finishes. Hiss performance at Bay Hill is undeniable as he has six straight top 30’s including five top 15’s. At his current purchase price in some money leagues, I feel like Na provides a lot of consistency and value…. Take him with confidence.
Bryan, the best player on the 2016 Web.com Tour, has been on fire as of late. He has recorded three straight top seven finishes. He will continue to knock on victory’s doorstep, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win in the near future. Currently at a great buy…. another confidence pick for me here.
This is the time of the year where the picks become difficult. In our current 36 week 12 week per session Yahoo league it’s the last week of the first session….. Unless something miraculous happens, only the league’s top three spots have a chance of winning the first session. Brian Stefan, my co-host and the Golfmonger himself is currently in third place and is trending up……The rest of us are looking to the future and the questions we are asking ourselves for the API picks are, do I choose a stud for a non-major or do I save him for later down the road…… or maybe do I choose a player who maybe won’t play much in the US like some Europeans I’m thinking about? Here’s some players I’m considering at the last minute this week:
Hatton will be playing a limited number of events in the US this year and this may be the perfect spot to use him if you want to go against the grain a bit with your pick. Hatton has five straight top 13 finishes worldwide. I’ve been talking about this kid on my weekly Fantasy Golf TV show and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name on the front page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
This may be one of the best spots to choose Justin Rose this year. Rose has played very consistent at Bay Hill throughout his career with four top 15s in his last five starts here. Rose has been showing flashes of brilliance which remind me back to his US Open victory a few years back. He has three top fives in his last five starts.
The only hesitancy with using Stenson this week is determining first how many times have you used him already and if you would rather use him at a major or the Players. Stenson has been automatic at Bay Hill. He has made his last seven cuts at Bay Hill and hasn’t finished worse than 8th in his last four appearances here. With the exception in Mexico, he has six straight top 10s worldwide. It also doesn’t hurt that the Orlando resident, Stenson, will be sleeping in his own bed this week.
Certainly a horse for a course, he has finished 20th, 6th and 4th in his last three appearances at Bay Hill. The course suits his eye off the tee and he should be able to gain strokes on the field this week based on his long, straight driving. Many people will overlook Kokrak after his 58th place finish at the Valspar last week. Not many people realized that Kokrak was on the verge of a top 20 after finishing the first two rounds at 3 under. He struggled over the weekend which happens when a player tries to press at Innisbrook. Kokrak has been solid in his prior two starts with top 25s at Riviera and Pebble Beach.
Sentimental Pick – Sam Saunders
The 29-year-old turned pro in 2009 and joined the PGA Tour in 2015. He hasn’t won yet, but came close with a second-place finish at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open, losing in a playoff. As a kid, Sam used to sell lemonade around Bay Hill’s 18th hole to help raise money for the Arnold Palmer Hospital. In high school, he was the club champion, and he also caddied for his grandfather when he played the PGA Tour event held here. My guess would be that Mr. Palmer will be guiding some of his shots around the course this week, if you believe in that sort of thing, which I certainly do…..God Speed Sam….