Emergency 9: Fantasy news from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
March 17, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
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Rory McIlroy's solid approach and birdie on No. 18 for Shot of the Day
Here are nine tidbits from the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard that gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. The Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, plays 7,419 yards (par 72).
The Final Group
Henrik Stenson opened with a 64 and hasn't looked back. After sharing the 36-hole lead with Bryson DeChambeau, his lead is one (-12, 204) as he looks to claim his first title at Bay Hill. History is not in his corner as the only European to lift the title in 39 previous events was Martin Laird in 2011. Stenson had the 54-hole lead in 2015 but couldn't hold off Matt Every as he finished second. His worst final round score in his last five Sundays at Bay Hill is 71. ... DeChambeau hasn't finished outside the top five in his last four tournaments where he's been tied or one back of the 36-hole lead so I wouldn't expect him to fade tomorrow. He said his WD last week was due to not getting enough rest. After having the last tee time Saturday and playing in the last group tomorrow, I would suggest he would be fresh and ready to go.
With only four bogeys and a double this week, it looks like Rory McIlroy is turning up the heat with the Masters right around the corner. His ball-striking came to life on Saturday but it continues to be the flatstick that keeps his momentum rolling. He's second this week in Strokes Gained: Putting on lightning-fast TifEagle greens. He's closed the last three years 70, 65 and 69 last year so I'm expecting something in that neighborhood tomorrow. His 67 is his lowest round of the year in the States and only trails by two.
Justin Rose leads the field with 19 birdies and six of those were circled on Saturday against just one bogey as he posted 67. Rose has also been close here before as he shared the 36-hole lead in 2013 before finishing second to Tiger Woods. Gamers will be expecting a big finish tomorrow after not being able to close the deal from the final group last week at Valspar. He played with and beat Woods by two shots Saturday to move up 13 spots to T4. #Trending.
Been There, Done That
Speaking of Woods, the eight-time champion needed a low one Saturday to get back into the fight. His 69 was solid but finds him five shots off Stenson's lead. He'll need to equal or match his lowest closing round, 66, tomorrow to have any kind of a chance. He won't get any help from the weather, as it's forecasted to be perfect again. It's also unlikely that ALL of the premium players in front of him will fall apart. I'm interested to see if he can put the pedal to the metal when he knows that's what it's going to take to win.
Running Down a Dream
There are only two players in the top 10 that haven't won on TOUR, rookie Talor Gooch (T6) and Bud Cauley (T10). Since 1995, the only two winners to earn their maiden win on TOUR at this event have been Paul Goydos (1996) and Matt Every (2014). The odds aren't stacked in their favor, especially with the household names in front of them on the leaderboard, but I'm interested to see how they handle the big stage.
Rickie Don't Lose That Number
After sitting just one shot off Stenson's lead with two holes to play, Rickie Fowler played the final two holes 3-over-par. He'll start four shots back (T6) as he looks to add only his second top-10 finish at Bay Hill in seven events. Gamers don't need to be reminded that his only other top 10 in five starts this year was T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Repeat After Me
Hey look, another very solid round from Ryan Moore! He backed up his Friday 67 with his lowest round in this event on Saturday in seven tries with 69. Of his previous six Sunday rounds at Bay Hill the best of the bunch is 70. It's also the only one in red figures. His ball-striking suggests he could improve on that number tomorrow.
The warmer temperatures helped the early guys get off to flying starts. John Huh has never MC at Bay Hill but he's also never collected a check for better than T27. He'll have a chance tomorrow after his 66 moved him up 48 spots to T18. He has just as many rounds in the 80s on Sunday as he does under par (two each) at Bay Hill. ... Austin Cook shared the low round of the day with Huh and also shared the biggest jump, 48 spots. After making four birdies in the first two rounds he circled eight on Saturday, confirming he's a quick study in his first event at Bay Hill. ... Jason Day's ailment(s) from Friday didn't carry over on to his scorecard Saturday as his 67 vaulted him to T18 as well. The 2016 wire-to-wire champion is probably too far behind to win but another low one will reward investors in every format.
Moving Day: Wrong Way
2016 U.S. Amateur champ Curtis Luck reinforced how difficult Bay Hill can be for the youngsters. He sat T11 after 71-68 but 74 in Round 3 knocked him down 24 spots to T35. Astute gamers know this is only his 11th start on TOUR as a pro and will remember he was T5 at the Quicken Loans National and T20 at The Greenbrier last summer. ... Luke List gave back all of the ground he made up with Friday's 67 with 74 on Saturday to knock him out of the top 10. He's currently T28 but T26 is his worst payday in his last five. I'd expect a positive reaction tomorrow.
Patrick Reed has rinsed five balls in the drink this week. He's also made 18 birdies and sits T10. ... Sam Horsfield (68), Brian Stuard (68) and Graeme McDowell (69) signed for the only bogey-free rounds of the day. One of those is not like the others. Round 3 played under par at 71.260, by far the easiest of the week. ...
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