WGC-HSBC Champions preview: China hosts top field

Preview – WGC-HSBC Champions – Sheshan International Golf Club – Shanghai, China –

The final World Golf Championship (WGC) event of the year reaches Shanghai, China this week for the WGC-HSBC Champions.

The limited and elite field features an international flair with players from the PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Tour, Australasia Tour and Sunshine Tour. The defending champion is no here this week, but six of the Top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are competing.

Adam Scott, World No. 2, is the top-ranked player in the field since Rory McIlroy is skipping this week.

Past champion Martin Kaymer (2011) is also competing along with Spain’s Sergio Garcia (who finished T-2 last week at the BMW Masters). Masters champion Bubba Watson, who was 0-3 in the Ryder Cup, is making his first appearance after a break.

American Ryan Moore, fresh off his victory at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last week, is teeing it up along with 10th-ranked Rickie Fowler and FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel.

Only Patrick Reed, winner of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, has a shot at capturing multiple WGC titles this season. McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are all missing this week’s event.

Sheshan International Golf Club hosts again. The layout is a par-72 and reaches 7,266 yards.

2013 Results:

  • Dustin Johnson (24-under) beat defending champion Ian Poulter by three shots to claim the title – his first WGC triumph. DJ carded a second-round 63 to set the pace. Graeme McDowell finished third at 20-under followed by Garcia and Rose. Garcia shot 63 in the final round, while Poulter posted the same number in round three.

FANTASY: Ride the hot hand with Garcia, who was second on the PGA Tour in Scrambling last year. He finished the summer with near victories in major championship coming up short to McIlroy. Rose was 4th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green last season. Horses for Courses could bode well for Watson, who was T-8 here in 2013.

BETTORS: Rose is the overall betting favorite at at 10-to-1 odds to win. At 6th in the world ranking, Rose is due for a WGC title on his resume. The former U.S. Open champ is rested and ready for perhaps the best season of his career. G-Mac (25-1) contended here last year. He was first in Strokes Gained Putting last season. For a long shot, play Alexander Levy at 50-1. He is trending after a win at the Portugal Masters in October and a T-2 effort last week at the BMW Masters.

Other Golf News:

  • The LPGA Tour hosts the Mizuno Classic in Japan this week. Stacy Lewis headlines the field as a 3 ½-to-1 betting selection. She finished second last week to Inbee Park, but continues to lead the Race to the CME Globe standings. Jiyai Shin, Momoko Ueda, Teresa Lu and Karrie Webb are all former champions at this event and competing this week.
  • The PGA Tour hosts the Sanderson Farms Championship this week in Mississippi featuring a 132-player field. Martin Laird and Nick Watney are betting co-favorites at 20-1 odds. Ben Martin and Robert Streb – both early-season winners already on tour – are competing.
  • High school senior Camden Backel, 17, earned a spot in the Sanderson Farms field. He Monday qualified winning an 8-for-1 playoff to garner the tee time at the game’s highest level. He is the first teenager to Monday morning qualify on tour since 2001.