WGC HSBC Champions – Fantasy Golf Preview
This World Golf Championship event is the 5th stop on the 2014/15 PGA tour season and is played alongside the Sanderson Farms Championship. Although the tournament has been a WGC event since 2009, this event is only the second one to actually count to towards the Fedex Cup. The winner of the event will take home $1,400,000.
A high quality caliber of players has travelled to China for this top class event. Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson are the top ranked players this week and tee up alongside current Major champions Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer. Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Billy Horschel and Jordan Spieth also play this week.
This tournament is played at the Sheshan Golf Club which has hosted the event since 2006. The
course is played over 7261 yards and has a par of 72. The course is treelined, some of the trees being 1000 year old Gingka trees. The course record is 60 scored by Brandt Snedeker.
Dustin Johnson won the event last year, surging away in the final holes to win by three shots from Ian Poulter, with Graeme McDowell a shot further back. Ian Poulter won the tournament in 2012, two shots clear of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy. Other winners of the tournament are Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson (twice).
Justin Rose – Rose has moved into the very top echelon of golf in recent times and sits at number six in the world right now. This is his first tournament since the Ryder Cup and Rose has talked up his chances, aiming to move to a career high world ranking of 2 by the end of the year. Last time out he finished 4th in the Tour Championship, at the end of a run of nine tournaments that featured two wins and a worst finish of 35th. He finished 5th and 24th here in the last two events.
Sergio Garcia – Garcia seems to contend week in, week out without quite managing that win. His joint second spot last week saw him claim his 6th top 3 finish in his last 15 tournaments. Last year he finished 4th at this event and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Garcia finally entered the winners circle for the first time since January.
Martin Kaymer – Kaymer has finished in the top ten in this event for the last two years and was the winner in 2011. Last season saw the popular German have the best two months of his golfing life when capturing both the Players Championship and the US Open, these victories showing that this player now has the confidence to win any event he tees up at.
Gary Woodland – Woodland is hitting some of the best form of his career right now, having secured top 30 finishes in all of the Fedex Cup playoff events and a second place finish in the CIMB classic last week. He also finished 2nd at the event last year, so clearly has a liking for playing in Asia. Expect another solid week from Woodland.
Shane Lowry – Up until recently I have had Lowry tagged as a real up and down player – capable of both winning events and missing cuts on a regular basis. However, this has changed in recent months, with eleven straight made cuts, with five top ten finishes in this time. He played this event two years ago, starting with rounds of 66 and 68, but fell away at the weekend. If this Shane Lowry starts with similar rounds, I’d be surprised if he fell away this time around.
John Senden – Sleeper – If you want a player in from, you need look no further than this Australian. His last six events have seen him finish 22nd, 5th, 23rd, 26th, 18th and 7th. He played this event two years ago and finished 28th, so for a cheaper salary Senden could be a great value pick this week.
Alexander Levy – Sleeper Up until recent times Alexander Levy was something of a journeyman in European golf circles. However a solid 4 shot win in China earlier in the year gave him his first win, and he followed this up with another win in Portugal last month. Last week Levy would dominate the BMW Masters in China, only to shoot a 78 in the final round and lose a 3way playoff. This Frenchman is one of the world’s form players right now and is a solid pick.
Tommy Fleetwood – Sleeper – Tommy Fleetwood is a player on the rise, closing in on a top 50 spot in the World Rankings for the first time. In his last eight tournaments he has achieved four top five finishes, including a joint 2nd at the high quality Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Fleetwood played this event last year and finished 18th and could be the value pick of the week. This English golfer will surely achieve a big breakthrough at some point, and this could be the week.
The betting is tight this week, with no clear favorite. Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia lead the way in the Sportsbooks rankings, just ahead of a group of players including Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell.