Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Par 72, 7,261 yards
The WGC-HSBC Champions returns to Sheshan International Golf Club where Bubba Watson is the defending champion. He finished off in style last year by chipping in for eagle on the 18th and went on to beat Tim Clark in a playoff.
Previous winners include Phil Mickelson (2009), Francesco Molinari (2010), Martin Kaymer (2011), Ian Poulter (2012), Dustin Johnson (2013) and Bubba Watson (2014). Dustin Johnson holds the 72 hole record here with a score of 264 (2013).
Sheshan International is a par 72 measuring 7,261 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. The fairways are fairly wide and forgiving and the greens are also quite large so scoring should be good this week.
Length tends to be a plus 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. Bear in mind that Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson have won the last two staging’s here and both are statistically huge hitters with average accuracy off the tee.
The main areas of focus for me are current/previous form, driving distance, GIR, SGP, par 4 scoring and par 5 scoring. All four days look to be a bit mixed averaging from 21-25 degrees with the risk of rain and the possibility of thunderstorms.
Bubba Watson 18/1
Bubba comes here in great form after winning The Presidents Cup with the American Team a couple of weeks ago in Korea. He also had a great finish to the season finishing solo second at The WGC Bridgestone, T21 at The PGA, solo third at The Barclays, T10 at The BMW and T5 at The Tour Championship. He played superbly well here last year and dramatically chipped in for an eagle on the 18th to force Tim Clark into a playoff, which he went on to win. Watson lead driving distance and par 5 scoring that week playing the par 5’s in 14 under for the week.
He also played well here in 2013 finishing T8 so the course seems to suit his eye. Bubba ticks a lot of boxes statistically here ranking second in driving distance, 19th in GIR and first in SGTTG. He also leads par 5 scoring and ranks seventh in par 4 scoring. After a solid finish to the season and a good performance at The Presidents Cup, Bubba Watson could have another good week here at Sheshan.
Rickie Fowler 18/1
Rickie had a mediocre performance at The Frys shooting 72,65,70,68 to finish T25 for the tournament. However he did have a good finish to the season with a T10 at The WGC Bridgestone, a win at The Deutsche Bank, a T4 at The BMW and a T12 at The Tour Championship. He was also part of the winning American Presidents Cup Team in Korea. He has played well here in Sheshan in the past finishing T3 here last year only one stroke from getting in the playoff with Bubba Watson and Tim Clark.
Statswise he ranks 39th in driving distance averaging 296 off the tee, 35th in SGP and 26th in SGTTG. He also ranks 18th in par 3 scoring and 19th in par 5 scoring. After blowing the cobwebs off at The Frys, Rickie should be sharp and ready to contend here on a course he has played well on in the past.
Patrick Reed 33/1
The American has been in Asia for the last couple of weeks and recorded two top 10’s in his last two starts. He had a great week at The Hong Kong Open shooting round of 68,69,65,67 to finish T3 on 11 under for the tournament. He followed that with a T10 last week in Malaysia which included another four rounds in the 60’s to finish -17 for the week. Reed was also part of the winning American Presidents Cup team and had a good finish to the season with a T15 at The WGC Bridgestone, T30 at The PGA and a T4 at The Deutsche Bank.
He has played well here in the past finishing T22 here last year. Staswise he averages 292 off the tee and ranks third in driving accuracy, second in GIR and 19th in SGP. After two top 10’s in his last two tournaments, there’s no reason why Reed shouldn’t have another good week here.
Paul Casey 35/1
The Englishman played his first tournament of the new season last week at The CIMB Classic in Malaysia shooting four rounds in the 60’s on his way to a respectable T24. He also had a good finish to the season with a T17 at The WGC Bridgestone, T3 at The Wyndham, T23 at The BMW and a T5 at The Tour Championship. Casey has a superb record at this event finishing T20 in 2013, T4 in 2011, T6 in 2010, T9 in 2009 and T11 in 2008.
Casey averages 297 off the tee and ranked third in driving accuracy and first in GIR last week in Malaysia. Last season he ranked fifth in GIR, 10th in SGTTG, 13th in par 5 scoring and 10th in par 4 scoring. After a good week in Malaysia and a great history at this event, I can see Casey having another good week here at a decent price.
Chris Wood 50/1
Chris Wood has been in flying form over the last few weeks with four top 10’s in a row. His good run of form began back at The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where he finished T4. He followed that with a T9 at The British Masters, solo second in Portugal and a solo fifth last week at The Turkish Airlines Open. Wood has only played once here back in 2013 when he finished in a respectable T39 for the week.
He is averaging just under 290 off the tee on the European Tour this season and ranks 18th in stroke average, 15th in strokes gained putting and 27th in putts per round. He played well on the par 5’s last week and made a lot of birdies, which will be a big plus at Sheshan this week.
Final Selections –
Bubba Watson 18/1 2pts EW
Rickie Fowler 18/1 1.5pts EW
Patrick Reed 33/1 1.5pts EW
Paul Casey 35/1 1pt EW
Chris Wood 50/1 1pt EW
Total Staked = 14 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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