Mark Konezny, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tyrrell Hatton
- The WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan Golf Course in Shanghai, China is usually won by the elite players.
- Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy are the favorites to lift the trophy.
- Nine players are 20-1 or shorter, which creates a top-heavy field.
The PGA’s Asian swing comes to a close this week with the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.
Although this WGC event doesn’t bring out all the stars, it will be the strongest field of the fall.
Historically the game’s elite players succeed at the HSBC-WGC Champions. Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama have won four of the last five with only Russell Knox sneaking in as a surprise winner.
Sheshan Golf Club checks in at 7,261 yards for a par-72. Its par-5s are relatively easy and can give longer hitters easier scoring opportunities.
Johnson and Watson are two of the longest hitters, while both Rose and Matsuyama are excellent off the tee with their combination of above-average length and accuracy.
With those easy birdie chances, the winning score usually gets above 20-under par. Overall, there isn’t much defense for this course outside of some strategically placed water hazards that are in play on about half the holes. If a player can dodge them for four days, he really doesn’t have much else to worry about here.
Johnson and Rose are back in the field against along with the newly minted world No. 1 Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy. Those four are at the top of the betting odds between +800 and +1000.
I’d lean toward Rose or Rory in this range. But really, these guys could easily finish 1-2-3-4. Rose won last year, Brooks and DJ tied for second. Meanwhile, Rory was fourth his last time here in 2016.
This is one of those events to be cautious with because of the success of the stars at this event.
Last week with Gary Woodland, we saw where we can pick a guy at a good number, have him play his ‘A’ game and just run into a buzzsaw such as Koepka.
This tournament can cause similar trouble picking an outright winner.
With the four guys at the top at such short numbers, I figured we’d get some better value further down the board. But that really isn’t the case this week.
Jason Day checks in at +1600. Tommy Fleetwood, Matsuyama and Tony Finau are next in line at +1800. Then Francesco Molinari and Jon Rahm are right behind at +2000.