Fantasy PGA Preview: World Golf Championship HSBC
Usually prime-time golf works well for me. Put the kids to bed, flick on the golf channel extra app and relax with my wife while she watches something else. Well last week was different. Due to having friends from Australia visit, I did not get to see a single minute of the CIMB Classic. This week should be different for the WGC HSBC event in China. I’m looking forward to watching the first of the four World Golf Championship events.
CIMB Classic recap
Like I said before, I didn’t get to watch any of this year’s CIMB Classic. I checked the updates from time to time but was just too flat out tired. I have stated in the past that non-cut events mean you are never truly winning or never truly losing in DFS golf until the final round. A Friday cut really helps you know if you are at an advantage or disadvantage going into the weekend.
After the event had finished, I had to do a double take. Was what I was looking at really the final leaderboard or did PGATour.com just post last year’s leaderboard by mistake. Turns out they had not screwed the pooch, that yes, Ryan Moore did beat out Gary Woodland (plus others) for the second straight year. Since 2009 on the PGA Tour, only Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods have successfully defended their titles from the previous year.
So far this season, the defending champion has posted three top 5s and a 63rd (Jimmy Walker). This week we will not have to worry about last year’s defending champion of the HSBC, since Dustin Johnson is still on leave/suspension.
As for my picks: Will MacKenzie and K.J. Choi imploded on the weekend. J.B. Holmes rescued an awful start to finish in the 49th spot. Nothing too great. Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood were solid, but at their price a 13th and 19th place finish was a little on the disappointing side. My sleeper pick was the star though. Prom Meesawat finished tied tied for 8th, making it two Thailand golfers finishing in the top 10 of the CIMB Classic the last two years.
The Sheshan International Golf Club is a par 72 course that runs 7,266 yards long. It has 90 bunkers and seven water hazards. In the past eight trips here, somebody in the top 10 in the world golf rankings has won this event four times and somebody in the top 30 has won it seven times. Y.E. Yang (who was ranked 77th at the time) is the only golfer to win being outside the top 30. The strength of field for this event is 612, which is almost three times the strength of last week’s CIMB Classic, and the strongest field so far this season.
Also, only two players that finished in the top 10 of last years CIMB Classic backed it up the following week at the HSBC with a strong performance. Graham DeLaet finished 7th at the CIMB to finish 6th at the HSBC. Keegan Bradley finished 10th at the CIMB and finished 11th at the HSBC. All the rest of the top 10 in the 2013 CIMB Classic (that played in both events) finished in the bottom half of the field for the HSBC, including Ryan Moore, who finished 50th just a week removed from winning.
To list those playing that are inside the top 10: Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.
A side note for this week: the Sanderson Farms tournament, which is usually played during the British Open, is being played this week. It has no affect of the HSBC, but keep and eye on that tournament for your research for next week’s Mayakoba event.
|This is not a major and its not on US soil, making the HSBC right in Sergio’s wheelhouse. The last time Sergio underperformed in a WGC Championship event was in 2013 at the WGC Bridgestone, where he came 40th. Sergio finished fourth here last year and is on a string of top 10 finishes over his last three starts. He is priced high though, so you will need to find some value to mix in there.|
|Last season was a career year for Jamie Donaldson, at least on the PGA Tour. At the WGC Cadillac he tied for second in what was his best finish in a PGA event. He finished 8th here at the HSBC last season. In his last five stroke play events, Donaldson has an average finish of 8th, making him the player in the best form in this field.|
|Last season, every few months Jordan Spieth would come in and pick up a top 10. Well it has been a couple of months since his last top 10, making Spieth poised (not due) to do what he does best: play great golf. He did not play great at the Tour Championship, but to be fair it was a 29-man field with no cut. Spieth picked up a 16th here last year and has the ability to improve on that number this year.|
|While a lot of people will be looking at Ryan Moore, another Ryan has quietly been racking up the quality finishes. Ryan Palmer has placed in the top 20 in his last five events, including last week’s BMW Masters in China. In that time span he has played three events with no cut and placed in the top 10 in all three. His average finish place over his last five events is ranked third in this week’s field.|
|Reed is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde player. When his confidence is up, his game is on. Just look out if its not. He does not have a history at the HSBC, but he did not have a history at the other two WGC stroke play events, where he finished 1st and 4th. WGC Reed is known for boasting about being a top 5 player in the world, and, when it comes to WGC stroke play events, he is factually correct. He is coming off a solid CIMB Classic performance, came 5th in a recent match play event, and was the highlight of Team USA at the Ryder Cup.|
|In this space I wanted to put Ernie Els, but seeing how Notorious already had a writeup about him I decided to go risky with Ernies’ fellow countryman, Darren Fichardt. Fichardt is a four-time European Tour Champ and 13-time African Tour Champ. He is coming off a second on the African Tour, then backed it up in his last event with a 13th place finish at the BMW Masters in China last week (European Tour). Fichardt makes his living with his short game, ranking first on the European Tour in putts per round and first in sand saves.|
So there you have it folksl my picks for the WGC HSBC event in China
Good luck to all