WGC-HSBC Champions
  • Full preview of the WGC-HSBC Champions with The Golf Insider
  • Four value picks, ranging from $17 to $34 in the market

Check out the Golf Insider’s preview of the action in the People’s Republic…

HSBC Champions: The Tournament

Pitched just below the level of the four majors (the US Masters, US Open, Open Championship and USPGA) are the four annual WGC (World Golf Championships) tournaments. There’s the Dell Match Play, Mexico Championship, FedEx St Jude Invitational and this one, the HSBC Champions.

This event actually started out as a regular European Tour event in 2005 before the WGC took it over in 2009. And with it now being a high-profile contest we’re looking at a limited field (usually 78) of top-class players vying for the usual truckload of prizemoney.

HSBC Champions: The Course

The players remain in the Far East, this week heading for the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. This is a purpose-built 7,261-yard par 72 designed by Nelson & Haworth. It’s a well-regarded track which opened in 2004. The rolling, tree-lined fairways will provide a thorough test for the players, but it’s one which will reward good play with low scores (24-under-par is the record winning total).

72-Hole Record

264: Dustin Johnson (2013)

18-Hole Record

62: Martin Kaymer (2013) & Danny Willett (2015)

HSBC Champions: Past Winners

2018: Xander Schauffele

2017: Justin Rose

2016: Hideki Matsuyama

2015: Russell Knox

2014: Bubba Watson

HSBC Champions: The Field

Like last week, a reduced field of just 78 golfers line up in China. Rory McIlroy is the $6.50 favourite with Ladbrokes.

HSBC Champions: The Weather

There will be some rain around this week, but not too much to bother the players. The weather does improve as the tournament progresses, with the weekend seeing better conditions. Temperatures will be in the low 20s, and wind speeds will moderate at around 15 – 20 kph.

HSBC Champions: Value Bets

Justin Rose: $17 with Ladbrokes

In what is a weaker field than last week – and given his poor start at Narashino – I was sorely tempted to go in again with Rory. However, at the odds there is little room for manoeuvre on the market leader, and that just swings the vote towards Rose. The Englishman won here in 2017, was third last year (undone by a poor last round) and has Top 10 finishes at Sheshan dating back through the past decade. So he’s fine with the course and his current form is solid, if a little lighter than some opponents this week in terms of volume. But Top 10 at the BMW PGA Championship and 15th at the Italian Open are enough to suggest that Rose is keeping things kicking over nicely. Not playing last week cuts both ways, but Rose is experienced enough to come to China well-prepared, and ready to perform. $17 is perfectly acceptable.

Patrick Reed: $29 with Ladbrokes

Reed has been playing consistently well now for four or five months, which includes nine Top 20s, three Top 10s and a win at the Northern Trust. Reed is one of the most travelled golfers in the world, going from PGA to the European Tour on almost a weekly basis. This gives him a big advantage over lots of his fellow Americans, who aren’t as comfortably acclimatised to playing in Asia and other parts of the world. Reed has a solid record at the Sheshan International course with two Top 10s from four starts, and last year he looked like the potential winner until a Sunday 77 saw him drop down to 7th place. He had a nice warm-up in Japan last week, where he finished 17th at the ZOZO Championship, signing off with three rounds in the 60s. Everything suggests Reed will go well this week and he looks a solid each-way prospect.

Tyrrell Hatton: $34 with Ladbrokes

Hatton is trending nicely and finished sixth last time out at the CJ Cup. He tweeted shortly after saying he played some of the best golf he’d played all year, and that he missed 31 putts for birdie from 20 feet and in! This shows that if his putter wasn’t stone cold Hatton would have, most likely, been the winner. He didn’t get in to last week’s ZOZO Championship, but he’ll be full of confidence heading to China at a venue he hasn’t finished outside the top 25 at for the last three years running. It would be hard to leave out the hot-headed Englishman this week considering how well he played at the CJ Cup. If that putter warms up, expect big things from Hatton this week!

Billy Horschel: $34 with Ladbrokes

I had more than half an eye on Horschel last week in Japan and after a modest showing in Korea the week before, he was much more himself. He ranked highly for tee-to-green stats (13th Greens-In-Regulation) and putted well to close out a tie for sixth, despite a closing round of 70. He was 11th at Sheshan twelve months ago, and is a proven winner on the PGA Tour. In the big events, I find it hard to work out why he’s twice of the price of a player like, say, Tony Finau – who failed to fire for us last week. There’s no doubting these end-of-year events can produce surprise winners, but after another solid year on tour (24/26 cuts made and fourteen Top 25 finishes) I think Horschel has the game to go well at Sheshan this week. He can continue the fine record of PGA Tour players in this tournament.

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