Emergency 9: Fantasy golf advice from Round 4 of Arnold Palmer Invitational
March 18, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy emerges victorious at Arnold Palmer
Here are nine tidbits from the final 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).
Weekend at Arnie's
Rory McIlroy posted 18-under-par 270 to win for the first time anywhere in the world since the 2016 TOUR Championship. His 67 on Saturday served notice to the field as he moved into the second-to-last group from T11. His magnificent, bogey-free round of 64 was tied for lowest of the week and his birdies on five of the last six holes left no doubt of who was "back" this week. He played the weekend 13-under-par with only one bogey squared on his card.
That's more like it! With a new putter in the bag, the Ulsterman gained an unheard of 10.027 strokes on the greens and led the field in strokes-gained: putting. His ball-striking hardly suffered as he placed seventh in strokes-gained: tee-to-green and led the field in proximity. He only hit 46 GIR (T45) but he also led the field in scrambling so it was a complete effort. He picks up his first trophy at Arnie's Place after T11, T27 and T4 last year. This event now goes on his "horse-for-course" list as he's 29-under in his last seven rounds the last two years.
I don't believe there were ANY gamers who didn't think, once healthy, that we would see the McIlroy of old. It took longer than expected and there weren't any clues pointing to this weekend for the breakthrough. Gamers can go back to sticking him in the top three every week like we're used to doing. He's back at it next week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He won the 2015 edition at Harding Park.
Gamers' Choices -- PGA TOUR Fantasy Game presented by SERVPRO
Rank Player % Ownership Position 1 Tiger Woods 72.2 T5 2 Jason Day 56.7 T22 3 Justin Rose 50.8 3 4 Tommy Fleetwood 46.1 T26 5 Alex Noren 35.3 T36 6 Bubba Watson 33.2 T66 7 Rickie Fowler 27.8 T14 8 Marc Lesihman 18.5 T7 9 Patrick Reed 18.1 T7 10 Louis Oosthuizen 16.7 MC
McIlroy was selection lucky No. 13 this week. Those of you keeping the faith should have had a very nice jump up the season-long leaderboard in this format!
Gamers' Choices -- PGA TOUR One & Done presented by SERVPRO
Rank Player % Ownership Position 1 Tiger Woods 25.0 T5 2 Jason Day 11.9 T22 3 Justin Rose 11.4 3 4 Tommy Fleetwood 5.2 T26 5 Tyrrell Hatton 4.3 T69
Less than one percent of you acted on the impulse that this would be the week it all turned around for McIlroy. He was the 21st-most selected player. I'll bet you a cold one this is the last time he's out of the top five!
Justin Rose matched his playing partner McIlroy in the bogey department on Sunday. The Englishman also matched the champ with exactly one bogey in the final 36 holes. His 24 birdies were the most for the week. The WGC-HSBC Champions winner earlier this year signed for 67 and lost by FOUR shots. Last week gamers could have grumbled as Rose didn't fire in the final group. There can be no grumbling this week as he picked up his second top 10 in the last three weeks and third in four TOUR starts in 2018.
For the second time in four years Henrik Stenson couldn't slam the door on a 54-hole lead. The Orlando native held a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau in the final group and was 14-under after birdies on two of the first four holes. He played the final 14 holes one-over par and cashed for solo fourth. McIlroy played his final 36 holes 13-under while Stenson was two-under. This was bittersweet for investors as he collected his FIFTH, top-eight finish in the last six years but couldn't pick up his first win at Bay Hill.
Play Them All
Marc Leishman and Kevin Chappell provided clues from the early groups as their matching 67s moved each of them up 28 spots into the top 10 at T7. Leishman was looking to join Loren Roberts, Matt Every and Woods in the defending champion category but he was nine shots off the lead to start the day. Similarly to McIlroy, Leishman was hardly flashing any form over the last month (T31, MC and T37) but it's obvious this place fits their eyes. Chappell matched his career-low round here on Sunday and posted his second top 10 in the last three years. He's 21-under during that span.
It seems like Patrick Reed is showing up in the Sunday column every week. After T2 at Valspar, he cashed T7 this week and has now posted 10 consecutive rounds at par or better on TOUR. After co-leading the field in birdies last week, he was T2 this week. I don't think anyone will want to deal with him or his short game next week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. ... I suggested after Round 3 that Luke List has been playing too well to go quietly on Sunday. His 68 moved him up 21 spots to T7, his sixth finish of T26 or better in his last six events on TOUR.
Bud Cauley picked up his fifth top-20 finish in 11 starts this year and didn't absolutely meltdown playing with Woods on Sunday. There's no shame in his 73 and this experience won't hurt moving forward. Along with List, I'd be surprised if they didn't win later this year. ... Byeong Hun An couldn't take advantage of his 68-68 opening rounds as his 72-74 knocked him out of the top 10 to T14. The optimists will point out he's collected for T23 or better in three of his last four on TOUR. He's won a big-field event on the European Tour previously so I'm expecting more. ... The legend of Sam Burns will have to wait as he FINALLY ran out of gas with 77 Sunday to drop from T14 to T49. He needed a top-four finish to secure his card but this event has never been kind to rookies. ... Rickie Fowler was in the top six before doubling the last two holes to finish T14. I'll let his investors handle this one.
The final round scoring average was 72.455, the hardest of the week. That's how good the premium players were on Sunday. The scoring average for the week was 72.023. ... Charles Howell, III led the field with five bogeys (no others) in the bogey-avoidance department. He now has played the weekend here 10 consecutive times. ... Hideki Matsuyama returned this week from a wrist injury sustained at WMPO in February. He led the field in strokes-gained: around-the-green and finished T49.
Rory shot a final-round 64 to win the TOUR Championship on the day that Mr. Palmer died.— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) March 18, 2018
What did Rory shoot today? 64.