The best field of the 15-16 season so far is congregating in Shanghai, China for the WGC-HSBC Champions, teeing off Thursday morning. You will have plenty of names to choose from, so here are a few names to consider for your lineup in every price range. Good luck!
Rory McIlroy ($12,300) – Trying to fit these golfers who cost more than 20% of your total budget into your lineup is not easy. So if you’re going to do it, it really helps to be right. McIlroy provides as much comfort as you can find when you’re spending this much, having had four starts here and no finishes worse than T6. And the T6 he carded last weekend goes a long way towards showing that he’s at the top of his game heading into Thursday.
Adam Scott ($9,900) – In his last two starts, at the Japan Open and the CIMB Classic, Scott finished up T7 and with a solo second. In Kuala Lumpur last weekend, he shot a 63 on Sunday that ultimately left him a single stroke short of Justin Thomas, but also showed the talent that makes him a staple near the top of the world rankings.
Justin Thomas ($9,400) – You can’t get a lot hotter than Thomas right now. The 22-year-old followed up a T3 at the Frys.com Open a couple of weeks ago by breaking through with his first win last weekend at the CIMB Classic. He holed a ridiculous 30 birdies en route to the win, firing a 68-61-67-66. And he needed every single one of those shots, holing a par putt on 18 to stay in front of Adam Scott and avoid a playoff.
Shane Lowry ($9,300) – Lowry has finished inside the top-20 in each of the three tournaments he played in October. He finished T19 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, T2 at the British Masters and 8th last weekend at the Turkish Airlines Open. He’s familiar competition for the other golfers who will be on hand this weekend, and will be looking to build on that recent success. Golf is nothing if not a game of streaks.
Patrick Reed ($8,900) – If you read my PGA Insights article for this week, it was really just a reminder to pay attention to European and Asian Tour results when building your lineups. This can come into play in unexpected places though, such as here. Reed, an American, is one of those players with a hidden history if you’re relying on the PGA results only – not only did he finish T10 at the CIMB Classic last weekend, but that was coming off a T3 in Hong Kong the weekend before.
Anirban Lahiri ($8,300) – I recommended Lahiri last weekend and he rewarded me with a relatively inexpensive T21. He just earned his Tour card for 2016, so the CIMB Classic was his first PGA event of the season, but not his last. After winning two tournaments on the European Tour last year, he is currently 15th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
Scott Piercy ($8,100) – Piercy led early on at the CIMB Classic early on last weekend, and eventually slipped backwards, but not too far. He finished at T7, for his fourth top-25 performance in his last four starts. On one of the more difficult tracks on Tour last season, his success at hitting fairways and greens could propel him forward more than an occasionally shaky putter holds him back.
Chris Wood ($8,100) – This 28-year-old Englishman has been on fire recently, coming into this tournament with four straight top-ten performances, all in the past month: T4 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, T9 at the British Masters, a solo second at the Portugal Masters and a solo 5th at the Turkish Airlines Open last weekend, where he shot 66-66-71-68. He is an obvious upside play at this price.
Danny Willett ($8,000) – He is coming off a strong performance last weekend in Turkey with four rounds under par and a T11 finish. He’s not the most consistent golfer out there, but could be a good GPP play, because when he has a good weekend, he can put up a bunch of fantasy points in a hurry. He finish inside the top 20 in the last WGC event, the Bridgestone back in August.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7,900) – This Indian golfer has been occupying the same space as Chris Wood on the leaderboards of the European Tour of late, for a savings of a couple hundred bucks. He’s finished the Alfred Dunhill, the British Masters and in Turkey last weekend all in turn, at T4, T5 and solo 3rd.
Tommy Fleetwood ($7,100) – With two top-15 finishes on the European Tour in October, the 25-year-old is just wrapping up a very successful season, with nine top-25 performances, including four in the top ten and two in the top five. Even if this isn’t the week he breaks out, at this price, you don’t need him to to return value.
Xin-Jun Zhang ($6,300) – One of several Chinese golfers participating in the event, Zhang is coming off a win in his most recent tournament, two weeks ago on the PGA Tour China Series (at Kingrun Nanshan GC). The Shanghai native would obviously love to show well against the world’s best in his home city, and has the chops to make it happen.