Par 72, 7,266 yards
The WGC-HSBC Champions returns to Sheshan International Golf Club this week which has been the host venue of this event over the last number of years. The field includes most the world’s top golfers including FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson. Previous winners include Francesco Molinari (2010), Martin Kaymer (2011), Dustin Johnson (2013), Bubba Watson (2014) and Russell Knox (2015).
Sheshan is a par 72 measuring 7,266 yards and has four par 5’s, four par 3’s and 10 par 4’s. The course has some elevation changes along with some man-made lakes and tree lined fairways. Length will be an advantage here as two of the par 5’s measure over 590 yards. The par 4’s will also favour the big hitters with half of them measuring 450 yards or longer and the par 3’s measuring 200 yards or longer. The fairways are fairly wide and forgiving and the greens are also quite large so scoring should be good this week.
The main areas of focus here are previous form/current form, driving distance, GIR, SGP, par 4 scoring and par 5 scoring.
The Swede has been battling injury post Ryder Cup with his right knee but looks back to full fitness here. He played superb in The Ryder Cup and took US Superstar Jordan Spieth apart in the singles on Sunday driving and putting beautifully. He hasn’t played much over the last few weeks but played with huge dominance at the Open shooting rounds 68,65,68,63 to beat his nearest challenger Phil Mickelson by three strokes. He followed that with a T7 at The PGA and a solo second in Rio at The Olympics.
Stenson has a good record here in Sheshan finishing ninth in ’07, fifth on ’08, ninth in ’09, 13th in ’10, 24th in ’14 and 11th last year. He has the mix of accuracy and distance ranking first in SG approach to the green, 16th in SGP and first in GIR. If he is back fit and healthy I expect Henrik to have a solid week here at a venue that should suit his game.
Despite a poor finish last week in Malaysia, Patrick Reed has been playing some great golf over the last few weeks and was superb in the Ryder Cup particularly against Rory McIlroy in the singles. Reed finished T51 last week at The CIMB Classic which was his first finish outside the top 25 in 11 starts. After a fantastic win at The Barclays, Reed followed that with a T5 at The Deutsche Bank, T13 at The BMW and a T24 at The Tour Championship.
He has played well here in the past finishing seventh last year and 22nd in 2014. Statswise he ranks eighth in SG around the green, eighth in scrambling, 22nd in par 3 scoring and tenth in par 5 scoring. He looks a generous price here this week and could have a good week.
The defending champion finished off the season well and comes here in decent form. He had a good week in Malaysia finishing in a respectable T10 at The CIMB Classic and hit over 80% of greens in regulation. He had a superb win at the Travelers Championship and didn’t shoot worse than a 68 all week to finish 14 under in total. He followed that with a T15 at The Deutsche Bank and a T17 at The BMW. He had a brilliant week here last year shooting 67,65,68,68 to finish 20 under par in total beating his closest challenger Kevin Kisner by two strokes.
Knox is one of the most accurate players on tour ranking eighth in driving accuracy, ninth in GIR and 34th in par 4 scoring. If he putts well he could have a great chance here.
Alexander Levy 80/1
The Frenchman looks extremely overpriced here this week considering his current form and excellent record in China. Levy won the 2014 China Open and finished third the following year and was runner up at the 2014 BMW Masters which he should’ve won if it weren’t for a disastrous final round 78. He played well at The Sheshan International this year on the European Tour finishing fourth. He has been playing well over the last few weeks with a T18 at The European Masters, T7 at The Italian Open, a win at The European Open and a T4 at The British Masters.
He has only played this event once finishing T14 in 2014 and could have the game to suit this course. With a great record here in China over the last few years and a promising debut here in 2014 Levy looks fantastic value here.
Final selections –
Henrik Stenson 1pt EW 20/1
Patrick Reed 1pt EW 33/1
Russell Knox 0.5pt EW 40/1
Alexander Levy 0.5pt EW 80/1
Total staked = 6 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,