The Asia swing continues this week with The 2019 WGC HSBC Champions. This no cut tournament takes place at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. (par 72, 7,261 yards) Justin Rose picked up a victory here last season (-14), with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka tying for second. (-12) Any length hitter can win here, with players like Johnson and Russell Knox both having wins, but overall, the tops of the leaderboards have been crowded with bombers. But, you still need to be fairly accurate, with four of the last five winners ranking T16 or better in fairways found. More importantly, you need to be playing well with your irons. These greens are very tough to hit and the players that find the putting surface the most, will have the higher finishes. Rose was T3 in GIR and four of the last five winners have been at least T10 in this stat at Sheshan.
Each of the last five champs have also been T2 or better in total birdies. The four par fives are their best chances to get in the red numbers, but there are also three short par fours that are under 400 yards. Rose was 2nd in par four scoring and T6 on the par fives. Hideki Mastuyama, the 2016 champion, led the field in scoring both the fours and fives. So, as you can see, scoring on both types of holes needs to be factored in this week. One last thing to note is that average putters have and can win at this course. It is a tougher track and you obviously need to be putting it half way decent to come out on top, but this course is really all about how well you play tee to green. Oh, and don’t forget, due to the time difference in China, roster lock is at 8:50 PM EST Wednesday night. @Hunta512.
Rory McIlroy: (10,700)
Rory looks like best value of the top tier. Of all the golfers in this field that have played at Sheshan at least four times, McIlroy has the best average finish, at 5.7. He didn’t tee it up last year, but he has a T11 and a T4 the years before. In his last seven PGA events, McIlroy has four top tens. In his last 12 rounds, nobody ranks better than him statistically.
To get into further detail, he ranks 3rd in SGT2G, 2nd in BOB%, and 1st in both BS and DD. He has always been in the mix for a win at this WGC event and this might be the year McIlroy finally gets the big check at this course he is clearly loves. (11/1 via Bovada)
Tony Finau: (9,900)
This will be Finau’s first PGA start of the year, but he played once overseas since the conclusion of last season, finishing T10 at The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Fresh off his best season as a pro (23/25 made cuts, 19 top 25s, 11 top tens), Finau is in line to win an event or multiple this year. He closed out The FedEx Cup Playoffs, with finishes of T2, T4, T8, T15, and T10, in that order. He is the 17th ranked player in the world and he is gaining 6.9 total strokes in his last ten events.
In his last three starts, he ranks in top ten in SGT2G, SG APP, GIR, BS, DD, and SG on P4s. Finau also kicked off last season at Sheshan and in his debut in Shanghai, he posted a T11. We should see another top 15 and as one of the best DraftKings scorers in all of golf (2nd in last 24 rounds, only behind Brooks Kopeka), Finau is a must have in this no cut format.
Keegan Bradley: (7,500)
Bradley has played at Sheshan three times, with a T16 in 2011 and T11 in 2013. I don’t want to jinx it, but Bradley really was a consistent option last season, compared to the very up and down player we all had trouble rostering in prior years. He made 23/27 cuts, with five top tens, and capped off the season with a huge win at The BMW Championship. Just at The CIMB Classic, two weeks ago, Bradley ended the week with a solid T19, which was his sixth top 25 in his last 13 starts.
He has always been one of the best ball strikers in the business and last season was no different, with him ranking 2nd in SG APP and 11th in SGT2G. Plus, as of late, he has been an excellent scorer. (5th in BOB% and 9th in DK points over last 12 rounds) Coming in with excellent form, Bradley may be looking at his highest career finish at Sheshan.
Dustin Johnson: (11,500)
McIlroy is the best high end value, but I recommend still having some shares of DJ in GPPs. As usual, he is the favorite to win (8/1 via Bovada), which is no surprise with his great track record at this course. In four total starts, he has a win, a T5, and a T2, which came last year. DJ’s length and approach game are a match made in heaven for this course. He has two finishes of T7 or better in his last three starts, and is a guaranteed top ten.
Paul Casey: (9,200)
Casey’s game is trending up at the perfect time. He now has three top 20s in a row and in his last six starts at this track, he has two top tens and a no finishes worse than a T23. He is averaging an awesome GIR rate of 77.1% over his last two starts, ranks 9th in BOB%, and 10th in SGT2G. Casey is an extremely safe play, that is always a great bet for a top 20.
Patrick Cantlay: (8,800)
The ever so consistent Cantlay has eight top 25s in his last 11 starts. He is gaining 4.1 total strokes in his last ten events, behind some great tee to green play. (5th in SGT2G, 6th in SG APP, 2nd in GIR, 4th in BS, and 16th in DD in last 36 rounds) In his lone start, last season, Cantlay produce a T15 at Sheshan.
Thorbjorn Olesen: (7,900)
Before his MC at The British Masters, Olesen had six top 20s, in four Euro and three PGA events. We don’t have his rankings from overseas, but in his past 24 rounds on The Tour, he ranks 6th in GIR, 6th in BOB%, 9th in SG on P4s, 7th in SGT, and 5th in DK points. Also, in his three career appearances at Sheshan, he has a T6, T19, and T31.
Kyle Stanley: (7,600)
Stanley had a rough go at The CJ Cup (66th), but before this, he posted three top 15s in his last four starts. In his first try, Stanley was T5 at Sheshan, and in his last 12 rounds, he is 5th in SG APP, 9th in BS, and 8th in SG on P5s. In his first two tournaments of this PGA season, Stanley was priced at $9,000 and $8,200. This field is stronger than those, but this price cut he has seen is rather dramatic.
CT Pan: (7,000)
Pan is a steal at this price. He was $7,800 last week, when he posted a T23 at The CJ Cup. In his past 15 events, he has eight top 30s. Recently, he has been awesome with his irons and on par fours. (7th in SG APP and 1st in SG on P4s in last 24 rounds) This will be Pan’s first time at a HSBC, but he should be just fine and out produce this soft salary.
Matt Wallace: (6,700)
Wallace has the best odds to win of any player sub $7,000. (80/1 via Bovada) He finished T19 at PGA Championship and then made six straight cuts on The Euro Tour, including a win at The Made in Denmark, and a T16 at The British Masters. For a first timer, we can’t expect much, but at this price all we want is around a T40 or better, which is certainly isn’t out of the question for the #62 ranked player in the world.
*Please note that most of these rankings are from Fantasynational.com