Valspar Championship recap: Henrik Stenson is to me what Newman is to Jerry Seinfeld.
Date: March 15th – 18th
Course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Purse: $8.9MM ($1.6MM to winner)
FedEx points: 500 to winner
2017 Winner: Marc Leishman (-11)
Course: Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Built by Bob Simmons in 1961, it was Dick Wilson who actually designed the course. This 7,400 yard par 72 is a good mixture with some challenges to get from tee to green. The greens themselves are slightly elevated which stresses good approach shots. A few doglegs run around water with traps accurately placed around the pin on many greens. The Bermuda grass and length stress importance of good accurate Tee and Iron shots. The final three holes, much like Valspar will be a good test to the overall round
My Starting 4:
Emiliano Grillo. He finished 17th here in 2016 and 7th here last year. He’s on the upward trend this season with 3 top 15 finishes in his last 5 tournaments. He has the accuracy (29th in accuracy off the tee) and hit putting has been strong (18th in strokes gained putting).
Henrik Stenson. I am shaking my head as I select him again. He burned me at Valspar and I just never learn. I picked him as the ‘lock’ here last year and he burned me then. The point still remains that he’s 15th in official world golf ranking, prior to the missed cut last year he had back to back top 3 finishes in 2015 and 2016 and when he’s on he’s among the best.
Francesco Molinari. Only one player has finished in the top 20 each of the last 3 years at Bay Hill. He’s currently 25th in OWGR and he is among the best drivers on the tour now (3rd in strokes gained off the tee).
Jason Day. With top 25 finishes each of the last 3 years at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Jason can come in with some confidence. He has participated in 4 PGA events this year, all have yielded top 12 finishes. He is 6th on the tour in total strokes gained.
Jason will be a favorite going into the Masters too
Updated odds to win the 2018 Masters (@BovadaLV):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) March 13, 2018
Dustin Johnson +800
Tiger Woods +900
Justin Thomas +1000
Jordan Spieth +1100
Phil Mickelson +1400
Jason Day +1600
Rory McIlroy +1600
Jon Rahm +1800
Justin Rose +1800
Bubba Watson +2000
Rickie Fowler +2200
Sergio Garcia +2800
My Bench 2:
Jamie Lovemark. After a rough patch late last year and early this year where he missed 4 consecutive cuts, he has righted the ship finishing in the top 30 each of the last 3 tournaments. He has top 25 finishes the last two years here.
Hudson Swafford. Given the rather lackluster start to his 2018 season, Hudson has reason to be optimistic heading into Bay Hill. He has finished in the top 40 each of the last 3 years here with two top 12 finishes in 2015 and 2017. He has not cracked the top 50 in his last 3 tournaments but he is 20th on the tour in Eagles.
2018 Avg Stats
Starting 4: Avg Finish 46th (36th percentile)
Bench 2: Avg Finish 38th place (30th
Which marquee name not mentioned will do the best at the Arnold Palmet Invitational?
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