HSBC Champions picks: Fleetwood on an upward trend

HSBC Champions picks: Fleetwood on an upward trend article feature image

Over the last few years, Sheshan has proved to be a ball-strikers paradise.

Players need to hit a mile and get wedges in hand or find fairways and dial in the irons if they want to compete there.

Tommy Fleetwood fits that mold for me, and it’s why I’m leading my card off with him at 33-1. Fleetwood gained nearly a stroke on the field with his driver and approach game last season on the PGA Tour, playing primarily in the top-notch events.

He’s shown the ability to play well in strong fields with a second-place finish at the WGC Mexico event and a fourth in the U.S. Open. He’s also played well in China this year, making a playoff at the European Tour’s Shenzhen International in April before falling to Bernd Wiesberger.

More recently, he’s seen his game return to a solid level with a 6th-place finish two weeks ago in Europe. This came after a nearly two-month hiatus where he missed one cut in his only event during a seven-week stretch.

In three appearances at Sheshan, he’s been in the middle of the pack with an 18th place finish in 2013 being the highlight. But over past 12 months, we’ve seen his game rise to another level, and he could be poised for his biggest win to date.

My only other bet to win this week is Thomas Pieters at 66-1. Pieters isn’t in the best form but has been in Asia playing the last two weeks and shown some glimpses of his game returning.

Pieters has been in the mix after 36 holes in both events, but poor third rounds sent him plummeting from contention. He’s got the talent to contend in a field like this and the game is close. For him, it’s just a matter of stringing four rounds together.

No long shots for me this week here. I’m saving those for the Sanderson Farms where the underdogs reign supreme. There are a lot of guys I like, but I just don’t them actually winning here. Instead, I’ve sprinkled in a few extra top-10s and hope one or two of them can have a good week.

Full Card (Units)

Fleetwood 33-1 (1.05)
Pieters 66-1 (.55)
Top 5s on both

Top 10s
Chez Reavie +600 (1)
Kyle Stanley +800 (1)
Charles Howell III 10-1 (1)
Jordan Smith 12-1 (1)

Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22

Photo: © Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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