The WGC HSBC Champions | 5 November - 08 November | Sheshan International Golf Club
This week the WGC HSBC Champions tees off in China and once again the event will be hosted by the Sheshan International Golf Club - which underwent significant changes between 2013 and 2014. What was once a relatively tame setup has been turned into something a bit more challenging and this week every aspect of the game will be tested as the field competes for glory and valuable FedEx Cup points.
Last year Bubba Watson narrowly edged out Tim Clark on the back nine during the final round, which proved to be one of the most entertaining sessions we saw all year. Let’s hope we see more of the same in this installment. This week Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are priced up as favourites whilst Jason Day will be sitting this one out. In a field like this it’s worth looking for some value away from the top of the betting though so I’ll be avoiding McIlroy and Spieth and looking for some bigger prices.
The course measures a respectable 7,260 yards and is extremely challenging. The fairways are tight and lined with thick trees and water, making accuracy off the tee vital. Any wayward drives will be severely punished and anyone not in control of their driver will struggle around this layout. That’s not the end of it though, as the course plays long so that accuracy needs to be combined with distance. It comes as little surprise that Watson performed so well here last year because he ticked both the accuracy and distance boxes. The big-hitting American showed that the course can be overpowered. Overall this is an event to look forward to. Let’s see if we can get the month off to a good start and find a winner.
To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy 6/1
Jordan Spieth 15/2
Henrik Stenson 16/1
Bubba Watson 15/1
Rickie Fowler 16/1
Charl Schwartzel (60/1 a win, 12/1 a place)
Last week Schwartzel’s putting let him down, but a quick look at his stats show that from tee to green his game was flawless and that will stand him in good stead on this layout. He hits the ball long and straight, so keeping it on the fairway shouldn’t be an issue. If he plays like he did in the Frys.com Open, where he finished inside the Top 10, he stands a real chance of winning this one. A Top Ten in the US Open proves that he still has what it takes to mix it up with the likes of Spieth and McIlroy- let’s hope he can one up them here. Each way on Schwartzel is my first bet for the week.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (66/1 a win, 13/1 a place)
When you think about who the best golfers are at the moment this guys name isn’t one which immediately springs to mind, but I have a feeling, that after this week that could all change and the Barn Rat could walk away with a well-deserved victory. He’s been knocking on the door for a while but has been let down by one or two wayward shots, however, three top Five’s in as many tournaments can’t be ignored. Last week he finished a respectable third against some stiff competition. The field he‘ll face here is a bit stronger, but I’m hoping he’ll rise to the occasion. Each way is the bet for me here.
Anirban Lahiri (60/1 a win, 12/1 a place)
Lahiri got off to a slow start last week but eventually fought back and ended up finishing inside the Top Ten and I’m hoping that he carries that form through to China this week. He rarely misses a fairway and he’s putting as well as anyone at the moment so he shouldn’t have a problem making a few birdies. He’s already won twice this year, but I have a feeling he has at least one more victory up his sleeve. At this price, it’s definitely worth taking a chance on him to come good this week.
Louis Oosthuizen (45/1 a win, 9/1 a place)
Oosthuizen has endured an up and down year but when he’s been good he’s been great and it seems like he plays his best golf against stiff competition. He was in top form in the US and British Opens, which shows despite the injury setbacks he’s faced he can still fire when need be. He also loves the course and has never missed a cut on this layout. If he can capitalise on that experience, there’s no reason he won’t do well here and this price looks to be far too big to ignore. I’m backing Louis each way.
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