Kyle Stanley … For as much as it’s important to remember that he was trending for months in advance of his second PGA TOUR victory last summer, he’s sustained and slightly improved his position on the world stage since. Up three clicks to 55th in the Official World Golf Ranking since posing for pictures at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm eight months ago, he’s returning to the World Golf Championsips-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time since his debut in 2012. His commitment to the Arnold Palmer Invitational grants one more opportunity to climb even higher before next Monday’s live draw for round-robin play next week. Tied for 17th with a typically polished tee-to-green game at Bay Hill during his resurgence last year. Now coming off a T25 at Chapultepec, his fifth top 25 of the season.
Jamie Lovemark … While he was born and raised in southern California, the Florida Swing has been kinder to him since regaining fully exempt status in 2015-16. Then again, he’s been a resident of Jupiter, Florida, for years, so the absence of success here as well would be a surprise. His slate in the Sunshine State includes a T6 and T23 in the last two editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also struts in on the strength of a solo seventh at PGA National and a T16 at Copperhead. With positive measurements in strokes gained: putting in both events, he’s risen 32 spots to 42nd overall on TOUR. Put it all together and Bay Hill is at or near the top of the most logical sites for the 29-year-old to capture his maiden title.
Lucas Glover … In the same lane for anyone who had a tough time digesting that Valspar Championship winner Paul Casey is already 40 years old, Glover will reach that age at the end of next year. Already. He’s gone six seasons since his most recent of three PGA TOUR victories (2011 Wells Fargo Championship), but he’s remained a fixture of late for doing what he does best. The sharpshooter ranks 15th in total driving, 10th in strokes gained: off-the-tee and 44th in greens in regulation. He’s also 44th in both scrambling and bogey avoidance. In eight prior appearances at Bay Hill, he connected for four top 20s, including a personal-best T7 last year.
Jason Kokrak … As he enters his prime, the 32-year-old continue to make noise and perhaps inch closer to the elusive breakthrough victory. Perfect in six starts in 2018 with three top 20s, including a T8 at Copperhead on Sunday. He’s also come within striking distance at Bay Hill twice before, eventually finishing fourth in 2014 and T6 in 2015. Sits 18th on TOUR in adjusted scoring, T4 in par-5 scoring, 10th in bogey avoidance and 21st in the all-around.
Collin Morikawa … The 21-year-old from Los Angeles is a junior at the University of California-Berkeley. He’s currently fourth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and second in Golfweek’s Sagarin Ranking. Along with 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up Doug Ghim and former Pac-12 Conference foe Maverick McNealy (from Stanford), went 4-0 at the 2017 Walker Cup. In his only career start on the Web.com Tour, lost in a playoff at the 2016 Air Capital Classic where Ollie Schniederjans prevailed. Morikawa secured his exemption into the field at Bay Hill this week via his Palmer Cup appearance last year. He couldn’t ask for a better tune-up as he’s fresh off an individual title and school-record 16-under 197 at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate in Mexico on March 6.