Par 72, 7,266 yards
The WGC-HSBC Champions returns to Sheshan International Golf Club this week for its 12th year. The field includes most the world’s top golfers including Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. Previous winners include Martin Kaymer (2011), Dustin Johnson (2013), Bubba Watson (2014), Russell Knox (2015) and Hideki Matsuyama (2016).
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.
A mixture of length and accuracy will be advantageous here with around half of the par 4’s measuring 450 plus and two of the par 5’s measuring over 590 yards. The fairways are average width, undulating and tree lined with water coming into play on 11 holes.
The greens are elevated, undulating Bentgrass and are larger than average by Tour standards so scoring should be good this week.
The main areas of focus here are previous form/current form, driving distance and accuracy, GIR, SGP, par 4 scoring and par 5 scoring.
The Aussie came close to his third win in 12 months last weekend at the CJ Cup in Korea. He fired rounds of 66,72,71,70 getting into a playoff with FedExCup Champion Justin Thomas and ended up losing the second playoff hole and finishing second. He has played some great golf throughout this year with wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill and the BMW Championship at the end of September in Conway Farms. Leishman has had four top 10’s, a win and a top 15 in his last nine starts and is no stranger to winning.
He had a great week at the Qucken Loans finishing T5 and followed that with a T6 at The Open, T13 at the PGA, solo third at the Dell Technologies Championship, a win at the BMW and a T24 at the Tour Championship. He has played well here in Shanghai in the past finishing solo ninth in 2014 which included two 69’s over the weekend and a T11 in 2015 shooting an impressive 65,68 on Saturday and Sunday.
Last season Leishman ranked 50th in both driving distance and GIR. He also ranked 37th in SGP, 15th in SGTTG and ranked in the top 20 for par 3, par 4 and par 5 scoring which all look hugely positive for this course. 18/1 looks decent value for a guy that’s bang in form.
Fisher arrives in China this week in good form on the back of two second place finishes in his last two starts. He played very well at the Alfred Dunhill Links shooting rounds of 71,68,67 in the first three rounds and then caught fire in round four shooting a course record 61 around St Andrews on Sunday to finish solo second. The Englishman then travelled to Italy for the Open De Italia and shot four rounds of 68 or better including a final round 63 on Sunday to finish T2.
Fisher has a great record on this course over the last few years finishing sixth last year, third in 2015, T16 in 2010 and T28 in 2009. He has played well in Asia over the years finishing no worse than T16 at the Shenzhen International in his last three appearances including a T3 this year and a T6 at the China Open back in April.
Statswise he ranks 44th in driving distance averaging just over 300 yards off the tee and sixth in GIR. Fisher is a real horse for the course kind of player and clearly likes Sheshan. He looks a good shout here especially in the form he is in.
This is will be the big hitting American’s first WGC event this week in China and it comes a course that could really suit him. Finau has been playing some great golf lately and finished the 2016/17 season off with four top 10 finishes from the Greenbrier to the Tour Championship. He finished T7 at the Greenbrier shooting four rounds of 69 or better and followed that with a T27 at The Open and a T5 in Canada which included another four rounds in the 60’s.
Finau had a great finish to the FedExCup Playoffs finishing T7 at the BMW and another T7 at the Tour Championship at East Lake. He has had a great start to the new season finishing T2 at the Safeway and followed that with a respectable T26 last week in the CJ Cup and looks primed and ready for a big performance.
Staswise he ticks the boxes here ranking 16th in driving distance averaging an impressive 316 off the tee which is a big plus taking on these makeable par 5’s. He also ranks 24th in SGP and 13th in par 5 scoring. Although this is his first appearance here Finau has the game and the ball striking to go well.
Top 20 Double –
Matt Fitzpatrick/Brice Garnett @ 5.7/1
Matt Fitz has the ideal mix of great current form and good history on this course. After winning the European Masters last month he has continued on an upward curve finishing T11 at the British Masters, T15 at the Alfred Dunhill and a T15 last week in Italy. He has a great record here finishing T7 in 2015 and T16 last year.
Brice Garnett is looks in fine fettle coming into this week with two wins and five top 20’s in his last 10 starts on the Web.com Tour. He won the Utah Championship and followed that with another win which came at the Portland Championship at the end of August. He has played here twice before missing the cut last year but posting a T9 in 2015.
Final selections –
Marc Leishman 1pt EW 18/1
Ross Fisher 0.5pts EW 25/1
Tony Finau 0.5pts EW 33/1
Top 20 Double 1pt EW
Total staked = 6 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf.
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