First thing’s first… I had to use this picture. What the hell is going on here? I am at a loss for words.
Moving on… It’s another no cut, Wednesday night lock week. The HSBC Champions is a World Golf Championship event, so we’ve got the best of the best to choose from. The tournament will be played at Sheshan International Golf Club; a 7,364-yard par 72 located in Shanghai, China.
2014 HSBC Champions
1. Bubba Watson -11 (won in playoff)
2. Tim Clark -11
T-3. Rickie Fowler -10
T-3. Hiroshi Iwata -10
T-3. Graeme McDowell -10
T-6. Ian Poulter -10
T-6. Thorbjorn Olesen -8
T-6. Martin Kaymer -8
9. Marc Leishman -7
T10. Jason Dufner -6
T10. Brandt Snedeker -6
As a WGC event, the field is made up of golfers from all over the world. Statistics from tours besides the PGA are unreliably at best. Also, we’re in the wraparound portion of the 2015-16 season, and our options are use the small sample of 15-16 results (and not many of these guys have played yet), use 14-15 results (problem being we’re dealing with numbers that are months old), or pay for specific data. So I’m going to focus less on specific ranks this week, and more on perceived ability in key areas (I’m also using whatever statistics I can find, but I don’t want to rely too heavily on them).
Some things to think about…
- Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson won this event in 2014 and 2013, respectively. So you’re probably going to want to target bombers.
- This one courtesy of PGA DFS: Besides the first-ever event in 1999, no one has won a WGC tournament in their first time out.
- Players ranked outside of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings rarely win these events.
Primarily, I’m going to focus on elite players with distance off the tee and either good course history or current form. Here’s the profile:
- Stoke differential and price above all else
- Strokes gained tee-to-green
- Driving distance
- Birdie or better %
- Eagle or better %
- Par 4 birdie or better %
- Par 5 scoring average
- Birdie or better from 50-125 yards (less important)
- Course history
- Current form
There’s not a lot of value to be had below $8k, so I’m going to be going with a more balanced approach.
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
Bubba Watson $10,500 (14-1)
He’s the defending champ and comes in at a considerable discount to Rory and Spieth. He’s long, makes a ton of birdies, and should dominate the par 5s.
Dustin Johnson $10,300 (15-1)
Everything I just said about Bubba applies here (only DJ’s title came two years ago). Can’t go wrong with him or Bubba.
Rickie Fowler $10,300 (20-1)
Rickie could go a little overlooked this week. He’s sandwiched in between Bubba, DJ, and Adam Scott in terms of price. Finished T-3 here last year, and he tends to show up in tournaments with elite fields (see: Players Championship).
Paul Casey $9,200 (29-1)
Casey had a nice bounce back season in 2014-15. He’s above average in all key areas, and his price is palatable.
Sergio Garcia $9,100 (35-1)
Like Rickie, Garcia’s biggest career win came at TPC Sawgrass (one of the best fields in golf). He’s strong tee-to-green and excellent from 50-125 yards.
Louis Oosthuizen $8,800 (35-1)
Another player that tends to excel when playing against the best in the world. He’s coming off an incredible performance at the Presidents Cup, and I really like his price.
Ian Poulter $8,600 (45-1)
Poulter has some great course history at this track. He finished T-6 in 2014 and solo 2nd in 2013. His stats may not align with what I’m looking for, but you can’t argue with the results.
Matthew Fitzpatrick $8,200 (45-1)
Fitzpatrick is a 21-year old from England. He won the U.S. Amateur in 2013 and the British Masters in 2015, and he also has a pair of top-50 finishes at the U.S. Open and Open Championship. He probably won’t win, but $8,200 is a great number given his Vegas price.
Bernd Wiesberger $8,000 (70-1)
Has a T-4 and T-16 in two of his last three events, and is currently in 8th place in the European Tour’s “Race to Dubai” (the Euro version of the FedEx Cup).
Danny Willett $8,000 (70-1)
You know what’s better than 8th place? Second place. Willett currently trails only Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai. So, yeah… he’s having an okay year. He finished T-11 last week in the Turkish Airlines Open and has three top-17 finishes in WGC events so far this year.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat $7,900 (55-1)
He’s large. He smokes on the course. And he’s on absolute fire of late. His last three finishes: T-4, T-5, and solo 3rd. His DK price represents a great value when compared to his Vegas odds.
Thorbjorn Olesen $7,100 (95-1)
Thor finished T-6 here last year, and he edged out Brooks Koepka to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a few weeks back. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point, but there’s enough here to like at $7,100.
Hiroshi Iwata $6,700 (210-1)
T-3 last year and dirt cheap, so why not?
Games lock early tomorrow night, so get those lineups in! Good luck!