Expert picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational
- By Golf Channel Digital
- Mar 20, 2012 5:59 PM ET
The PGA Tour heads to Bay Hill in Orlando this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational as the Florida Swing concludes. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton; "Morning Drive" hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.
Group 1: Justin Rose: Home advantage this week for the Lake Nona resident still flying high after his win at Doral. Co-lead the field in GIR last week at Transitions and finished T-3 here a year ago.
Group 2: Jim Furyk: Starting to play better and tends to heat up when the weather does as well.
Group 3: Stewart Cink: He tied for 12th last year and is looking to this week to jump start his season, where his only top-15 finish was a T-13 at Torrey Pines back in January.
Group 4: Tom Gillis: He finished T-30 here last year and shared runner-up honors just two weeks ago at the Honda Classic. I think he could back it up this week with another solid finish.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: Six wins in 11 appearances and appears to have gotten over that Achilles speed bump from Doral.
Group 2: Spencer Levin: Finished T-6 here last year and remains in good form this season. Hasn't missed a cut in 2012 and finished T-21 last time out at Honda.
Group 3: D.A. Points: Was not spectacular last week, but made money. He's made the cut in all five appearances here.
Group 4: Ken Duke: Has two top-10 finishes this year and was T-6 here in his first Bay Hill start in 2008.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: After watching him at Tavistock, the health of his Achilles' is not a concern for me. I have said it before and I'll say it again: this is the week where the winless drought ends.
Group 2: Mark Wilson: He recorded his fifth-career Tour win earlier this year and finished third in the Match Play. As we have seen before, Wilson is a player who can sneak up and finish high on the leaderboard, including a T-9 finish here last year.
Group 3: Jeff Overton: After a rocky start to 2012, Overton has been playing well lately, finishing T-5 last week in Tampa. I think his good play will continue this week as he still seeks his first career PGA Tour win.
Group 4: Bud Cauley: As I have said before, Cauley has the potential to be THE rookie on the PGA Tour in 2012. After a T-16 finish at Transitions, I think he could make his first appearance at Mr. Palmer's tournament a memorable one.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: He's a six-time champ here who is gearing up for the Masters in two weeks. He has shown some great play recently and I think his health is fine.
Group 2: Mark Wilson: Take him early in the year; this is when he plays his best.
Group 3: Brendan Steele: This is a loyalty pick. A great talent and a greater guy, Steele is getting ready to make his first Masters appearance. While he has not played well lately, I think he is ready to succeed this week after a couple weeks off.
Group 4: Brian Gay: He's an Orlando guy, and I think he'll enjoy himself this week. Still looking to get closer to the form he had in Hawaii, Gay has made the cut in 7 of his last 8 starts at Bay Hill.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: Didn't want to take him, but most others in this group haven't historically played well at Bay Hill.
Group 2: Spencer Levin: Had some good moments in 2012 and wouldn't be surprised to see his name pop up on the leaderboard once again.
Group 3: Sean O'Hair: A gut feeling mixed with good history at Arnie's Place. O'Hair has two top-three finishes here the last three years.
Group 4: Ken Duke: Picked him last week and he was a shot out of the playoff at Transitions. He's confident.
Group 1: Webb Simpson: This Wake Forest alum went to school on an Arnold Palmer scholarship. There are good vibes this week.
Group 2: Jim Furyk: There's momentum off that T-2 finish in a playoff lost at the Transitions.
Group 3: Sean O'Hair: Sluggish of late, but O'Hair has some nice history at Bay Hill with a 2nd and 3rd place finish there previously.
Group 4: George McNeill: Gotta be some leftover confidence from that Puerto Rico Open victory.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: The six-time winner at Bay Hill was sidelined by recurring pain in his left Achilles' tendon at Doral two weeks ago, but didn't suffer a setback at the Tavistock Cup. A no-brainer this week.
Group 2: Jim Furyk: Converging trends in play. Coming off a playoff loss at the Transitions and has posted consecutive top-11s at Bay Hill since the renovation.
Group 3: Jeff Overton: Riding the hot hand here. Remember the kind of torrid stretch he enjoyed during the summer of 2010? Three straight top-20s entering this week, including a T-5 at Copperhead.
Group 4: Chris Stroud: Great value in this group. Four top-15s already this year, including top-10s in his last two starts. Par or better in all of his last eight rounds.
**For more fantasy insight, don't forget to join GC Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live chat 12p ET Wednesday at www.rotoworld.com**
You can watch complete coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Thursday-Friday live on Golf Channel from 3PM-6PM ET.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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