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BlogWho will win at Bay Hill on Sunday

Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 19 – 22, 2015

Bay Hill Club

Orlando, Fla.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,419

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Every

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Who should win on Sunday

Just a story on how tough it is to win on some of these fantasy golf sites.  It is a lot of fun, but very competitive.  Take in point this week, I am in one Draft King game were my six picks are Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Jason Kokrak, Sean O’Hair, Zach Johnson and Vijay Singh.  At around 2:30 was going to the store, but before I left checked the leaderboard and was shocked that I was in the top-15 in a 1915 player game.  The combination of Johnson, O’Hair and Kokrak were doing great, at about that time Kokrak was in first place.  I checked about an hour later and was still holding his own and when I got home caught the tail end of Henrik Stenson making birdie at 18.

Didn’t think much of it until I logged into Draft Kings and saw because of the great finish of Stenson and so many folks having put Henrik in their top-6, I dropped from the top-15 to 218.  Boy it’s really tough.

That’s when I realized how tough Stenson really is.  We have seen his good play the last couple of years, he won the FedEx Cup in 2013 and has four PGA Tour wins including the Players Championship in 2009.  On the European Tour, he won the Race to Dubai in 2013 and was runner-up last year.  So there is a reason for him being third in the world rankings and if he wins on Sunday (or finishes in the top-three) will replace Bubba Watson in second and be knocking on the door of getting into the top spot.

Stenson has played great this week and after 14 holes on Saturday he was having a good round with 12 pars and two birdies.  But he made the round really great when he played his last four holes birdie-eagle-par-birdie en route to a bogey-free, 6-under 66. Today’s score was one stroke shy of his lowest for the year. Following a 9-over 81 in round three of the WGC-HSBC Champions, he rebounded in the final round with a 7-under 65.

The key to his week is with the putter.  In rounds one and three, Stenson needed 30 putts to complete each round, but took just 23 shots with the putter in round two. With a cumulative average of 3.47, Stenson ranks second in Strokes Gained Putting.

As we have seen the last couple of weeks in which the third round leader couldn’t keep up in the final round, I have a feeling that’s not going to happen on Sunday.  Look at this chart of Stenson when he has had the lead or co-led or been within five of the lead going into the final round.  We include his stats for both the European and PGA Tour and as you can see, the last five times he has led he won four times.  Stenson is a great front runner and I can’t see anything bothering him on Sunday.  I also sense that there isn’t that much fire-power close to Stenson to put the needed pressure on him.  Sorry but the Morgan Hoffmann’s, Jason Kokrak’s, Matt Jones and Ben Martin’s of the world just don’t do it for me.  But the laws of average says that one of those guys will play well on Sunday.

So what has Stenson done right this week?  He has hit a lot of fairways, 34 of 42 which ranks T5th.  He also has hit a lot of greens, 42 of 54 which ranks T7th.  That with the fact that he is making lot’s of putts, he is fourth making 279 feet of putts and as we said ranks second in strokes gained putting makes him unbeatable.

Any chance that Stenson could not put it together on Sunday?  Of course there is always a chance, but go back to that chart that shows his performance when close or with the final round lead, in his last ten times he has shot in the 60s seven times.

So who will put the heat on him on Sunday?  I can see guys like Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, who are pretty much out of things having great rounds on Sunday.  I just can’t see anyone close to him doing it, but for my greedy purposes (remember my six Draft Kings picks) I hope that Jason Kokrak, Sean O’Hair and Keegan Bradley go low.  Again this isn’t a great science, last year we never would of thought that Matt Every would of done it on Sunday in winning the Palmer, but he did.  So don’t be surprised if someone finds that Sunday magic.

Any more ammunition on why Stenson will win?  He’s got this great track record at Bay Hill going into Sunday.  Over his last 15 Bay Hill rounds, he is 34 under and has broken par 12 of those 15 rounds.

How bad has it been on the PGA Tour leading going into the final round?  Hard to believe that the last eight events going back to the Humana hasn’t had a third round leader/co-leader win.  Bill Haas was the last and that was back in January.  Speaking of another record, this is the 19th event of 2015 on the PGA Tour and Stenson would be the 19th different winner.  That would be the longest streak going back to 1994.

Is scoring really low this year?  The weather has been perfect, along with a course that doesn’t have the bite of past years with slow greens, we could see a score in the 20 unders for the first time since Payne Stewart did it in 1987.  But at the same time as I give the championship to Stenson, he needs to shoot 69 or 70 to make sure that he does the deed.

Below is a list of the top-22 players on the leader board going to 8 under which is eight shots back of Henrik Stenson.

Those that have played well of late:

Of the top-22 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Player Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust Indian Open AT&T Pebble True Thailand Farmers Phoenix Open
Henrik Stenson
(200 pts)
4
(80)
DNP T4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(161.17 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T19
(10.33)
T10
(13.33)
Sean O’Hair
(139 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP
Ian Poulter
(121.17 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T49
(1.5)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Sam Saunders
(116 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kevin Na
(108.83 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T26
(8)
Harris English
(80 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
T40
(3.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(80 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(75.33 pts)
DNP DNP T38
(18)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
T17
(11)
Brendan Steele
(72.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(1.67)
T26
(8)
Matt Jones
(60.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
Rory McIlroy
(57.5 pts)
DNP DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Camilo Villegas
(51.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 16
(34)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Morgan Hoffmann
(49.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
Jason Kokrak
(47.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T40
(3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-22 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Player Valspar Tshwane Open WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico Africa Open Honda Classic Joburg Open Northern Trust Indian Open AT&T Pebble True Thailand Farmers Phoenix Open
Matt Every
(-12.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP DNP DNP T69
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ryo Ishikawa
(1.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T73
(0)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
D.A. Points
(3 pts)
T47
(3)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ben Martin
(12.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T40
(3.33)
John Peterson
(20 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP
Danny Lee
(41 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jason Kokrak
(47.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T40
(3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Probably going to be a boring day as Stenson will play kind of like Martin Kaymer did last year while leading the Players and the U.S. Open.  Kaymer did make it interesting toward the end at the Players, but I see Stenson taking care of business on Sunday.  One thing working for Stenson will be the weather again a perfect day will meet the players on Sunday with temperatures in the high 80s with a lack of wind.

 

Who to watch for at Bay Hill on Sunday

The only true Bet for Sunday:

Henrik Stenson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win T5 T8 T15 T47 T52 T22

It’s his to win or lose. We have said this the last couple of weeks, but Stenson is a very cool customer and I don’t see the wheels coming off. On top of that, there aren’t the type of players, close to him, that have the type of game to put pressure on him. You just don’t know.

Best of the rest:

Jason Kokrak

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 4 CUT

Being a bit selfish because he is one of my Draft Kings picks, but he has a really great track record at Bay Hill plus he has played great of late. He made the move on Saturday, don’t know if he has another 65 in him.

Matt Jones

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 T14 T50 CUT T48

I just have this scene of him making this great comeback at Houston to win that event. Could lightning strike again, yes it could.

Sean O’Hair

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
7 T10 T40 T29 CUT T21 2 T3 T14 WD

Another of my Draft Kings picks, he is playing great this week and just like he did last week at the Valspar, could get himself in position on Sunday, if Stenson opens the door. At five back he needs to shot 65.

Could make a run:

Kevin Na

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T14 T4 T30 T2 T11 CUT CUT

He could shot 65 on Sunday and be there if Stenson folds. Plays good at Bay Hill

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12

Has done it before at Wells Fargo, so anything is possible. I don’t see it because his game isn’t that sharp right now.

Keegan Bradley

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12 2 T3 CUT

Has shown some spurts of good play, would really like to see him play well on Sunday

Sorry Just don’t see it:

Morgan Hoffmann

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
2 T35

Showed his colors on Saturday, just don’t think he can do it.

Ben Martin

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 CUT CUT

I also have not seen anything to show me he can do it when needed.

Matt Every

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 Win T34 T24 CUT T52

Don’t think there is any Tinker Bell pixie dust left over from last year.

Comments

  1. Pierce L says:

    I don’t think it’s wise for you to skew your independent opinion, which customers value, because of you Draftkings picks.

  2. Pierce L says:

    “Being a bit selfish because he is one of my Draft Kings picks….”

  3. Pierce, value the opinion, but they are choices that I feel passionately over and who I think is going to do well on Sunday. That’s the great thing about getting involved in a fantasy golf contest, it gives you more of a reason to root and think about it during the day. Specially when the talent around Stenson are a lot of developing players, it gives my players even more of a reason.
    Again, we are just trying some different approaches in doing this and trying to get more viewers a reason to look at this feature. Without fantasy golf this site probably doesn’t exist.

  4. Pierce, guess I could lie about all of this and not give you a reason why I made those picks. In a toss up situation, you always go with your rooting interest.

  5. Pierce L says:

    Thanks for the response Sal. I understand your point and I too love playing on Draftkings.

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