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DFS Golf Picks for 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational

2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational: DFS Golf Picks

When filling out a DraftKings lineup, picking among the favorites is a fairly safe proposition. It’s when you have to choose between a pool of golfers down the line is where you make or break your chance to win big.

Here’s the critical decisions you’ll face as you fill out your lineup this weekend (with values courtesy of DraftKings):

Golfers Valued $8,000-$8,900

  • Patrick Reed – $8,900
  • Billy Horschel – $8,800
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $8,700
  • Charles Howell III – $8,600
  • Daniel Berger – $8,500
  • Keegan Bradley – $8,400
  • Jason Kokrak – $8,300
  • Lucas Glover – $8,200
  • Henrik Stenson – $8,100
  • Ian Poulter – $8,000
  • Bubba Watson – $8,000

Charles Howell III is the most bland and boring name on this list, but he’s been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour this season. Howell has five Top 20 finishes in his last six starts, including the win at Sea Island back in November. While I’m not all that thrilled about some of his approach shot statistics such as strokes-gained and proximity, he’s still 2nd on tour in greens in regulation and with the way he’s rolling the rock on the greens anywhere on the putting surface is a scoring opportunity for him. Howell doesn’t have quite the upside as others on this list, but he’s a solid option capable of getting hot with the flat stick to be a worthwhile asset to a lineup.

Last week, Lucas Glover was touted as a great option for the Honda Classic in DFS, and he went out and finished T4 for his eighth Top 20 finish in nine starts. I like him for exactly the same reasons this week (see my column here for those same reasons), with the extra caveat that Glover has three Top 30 finishes at Bay Hill in his last five starts. Keep the train rolling with him, despite him being a more popular option in DFS this week.

To say things haven’t been great for Henrik Stenson of late is an understatement. The beginning of his year has been, to be kind, lackluster at best, and after going on a break with long-time caddie Gareth Lord in November he just kicked another caddie to the curb and is back on the market. Despite almost no form to speak of and some issues with the bag man, Stenson is too good of a ball-striker to be this low and overlooked at a golf course he has strong history at. In his career, Stenson has gained 2.21 shots on the field per round at Bay Hill, third all time behind Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Reportedly, Stenson will have a friend on the bag this week – maybe a friendly face walking with him will loosen him up. Given his recent issues, I don’t expect him to have a high ownership in daily contests, and if he shows well it’ll give a lineup a big edge in large GPP’s.

Ian Poulter is the most undervalued golfer in this group. Poulter has four straight Top 10’s worldwide and is striking the ball beautifully on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour. He also has a great history at Bay Hill, gaining just under 1.5 shots on the field per round and hasn’t missed a cut at Bay Hill since 2010. Following a strong showing in Mexico, Poulter will look to keep it rolling and with his discounted price point it’ll allow room to squeeze in an extra higher priced player into a lineup.

Golfers Valued $7,500 – $7,900

  • Luke List – $7,900
  • Louis Oosthuizen – $7,900
  • Siwoo Kim – $7,800
  • J.B. Holmes – $7,800
  • Adam Hadwin – $7,700
  • Zach Johnson – $7,700
  • Michael Thompson – $7,600
  • Cameron Champ – $7,600
  • Keith Mitchell – $7,500
  • Byeong Hun An – $7,500
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello – $7,500
  • Bud Cauley – $7,500

It’s not an easy proposition to back Siwoo Kim in any format because he’s maddeningly inconsistent. When he’s off, Siwoo has some of the worst ball-striking statistics on tour and is a nightmare on the greens. But when he’s on, there’s not a lot of golfers more talented than him. Heading into Bay Hill, Siwoo is redhot both tee-to-green and with his putter. He’s averaged 1.25 strokes gained tee-to-green over his last two tournaments and averaged 1.46 strokes gained putting over that stretch. That has led to back-to-back Top 5 finishes. Keep riding the Siwoo Train until it derails.

While J.B. Holmes made headlines three weeks ago by winning his first tournament in four years, his agonizingly slow play in doing so created far more negative ones. It’s not the first time he’s been in the crosshairs of those who would like to see a bit of a faster pace in golf. Unless the tour starts enforcing slow play penalties on a more consistent basis, though, Holmes will keep plumb-bobbing and backing off shots until he’s comfortable to hit. His new routine on the greens woke up his dormant putter to the tune of gaining over two strokes on the field at the Genesis, and he’s averaged over a stroke gained tee-to-green in his last three tournaments. As long as he continues to putt well, Holmes should have a nice performance at a place he’s played well in the past.

It was a very disappointing finish for Zach Johnson at PGA National last week. Zach struck the ball beautifully tee-to-green on the difficult track, finishing 10th in the field in that category but squandered it by losing over a shot and a half to the field on the greens to limp home to a T59 finish. While his performance on the greens lately hasn’t been quite as sharp as it has been known to be in his career, he still had gained about half a stroke on the field in that category over his last four tournaments coming into the Honda Classic. I expect a bounceback from him on the greens this week, and as long as the ball-striking holds up he should be in for a much better finish at Bay Hill.

Bottom of the Barrel (Golfers <$7,500)

Danny Willett – $7,000: After a rocky start to his transition as a full-time member of the PGA Tour, Willett has quietly amassed four Top 40 finishes in his last three starts and is doing so on the strength of his approach shots. Willett has averaged just under a stroke gained with his irons over his last three tournaments and is slowly but surely returning to the form that saw him rise to Top 10 in the world in 2016 and become a major champion. He’ll have to be a little more consistent with his putter this weekend, but if he’s rolling the rock well he’ll serve as a useful and inexpensive option to a DraftKings lineup.

Sungjae Im – $7,000: The spotlight was a bit too bright for the talented rookie at the Honda Classic. Sungjae held a share of the lead heading into the weekend, only to go +8 over the next 36 holes to limp home to a T51 finish. But Bay Hill won’t have quite as many tricks up it’s sleeve as PGA National did, and his ball-striking statistics remain very solid on the year despite the hiccup last week. If he takes last week’s debacle as a good learning experience, he should bounce back nicely at Bay Hill.

Other to Consider: Harold Varner III ($6,900), Sam Ryder ($6,900), Adam Schenk ($6,700), Corey Conners ($6,300)

Golf analyst for SportsGamblingPodcast.com, providing insight on news and betting tips for the PGA Tour, as well as commentary and banter on the World of Sports. Follow him on Twitter @SteveSchirmer

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