The PGA TOUR finishes their time in Asia with the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions tournament at Sheshan International Golf Club (West) in Shanghai, China.
Sheshan International will play as a par 72, measures 7,261 yards and be putt on bentgrass greens for the third straight week. This tournament has been played at Sheshan International in 13 of the last 14 seasons and all but two of the last 13 winners have been outside the top-30 in overall world golf ranking at the time of their win (exceptions: Y.E. Yang 77th/2006, Russell Knox 85/2015). Par-5 scoring average will again be important this week with three of the four playing over 550 yards. Golfers who also do well on Par-3 scoring average from 200 to 225 yards should be considered when building lineups, all four of the par-3s measure over 200 yards. Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee will be paramount with accuracy as a priority; hitting it in the rough or in any of the many fairway bunkers may be penal this week.
This is a tournament where the cream of the crop shows up and wins – the last five winners’ odds have averaged +5600 with Russell Knox being the longest at +15000 back in 2015 and Hideki Matsuyama being the shortest at +1900 back in 2016. Here are my favorite bets coming into this week.
Patrick Reed to Win +2500Reed doesn’t bomb it out there with his driver like Rory or Finau, but still ranks inside the top-10 in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee over his last six tournaments and has the short game to contend at this course. The 17th ranked golfer in the world right now, Reed ranks inside the top-30 in Par-5 scoring average and eighth in sand save percentage over his last 24 rounds along with two top-10 finishes here dating back to 2016.
Kevin Kisner to Win +11000 | Top-5 +1800 | Top-10 +800There’s no metric for “narrative-street” analysis, but Kisner may take a page out of Tiger’s book last week and go for the win this week in Shanghai so he can qualify for the President’s Cup. We’re not just relying on the metaphoric analysis with Kisner, he also has solid current form ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green and sixth in Par-3 scoring average which measure 200 to 225 yards in distance. He’s a great putter on bentgrass and has a second place finish here back in 2016. Kisner sits just outside the top-30 overall world golf rankings at 32, but has a solid shot to be in contention this week.
Leader After Round 1: Xinjun Zhang + 8000Even though Zhang didn’t play in either South Korea or Japan, he should be a favorite to start off strong in front of his home crowd this week. He’s played this tournament in four straight years and hasn’t done particularly well, but has shot in the 60s in two of his four first rounds here. Over the last five tournaments he’s gained an average of 4.6 strokes Tee-To-Green and over his last three tournaments he ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee, first in opportunities gained and first in Birdies or Better gained. He’s teeing off in the first group and gets to attack the course in its best condition.
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