The WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai is the second event on the European Tour’s Final Series, and brings together another high class field, not least because it is co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian Tours.
Since its inclusion on the WGC calendar (from 2009) it has been dominated by European players, with Ian Poulter (20/1), this week’s defending champion, following up wins for Francesco Molinari (33/1) and Martin Kaymer (20/1) after Phil Mickelson’s (14/1) inaugural success in 2009.
However, the inclusion of 12 more Stateside performers than in last year’s event – and quality ones at that – make me believe that a golfer playing under the stars and stripes could capture the title.
It’s also worth pointing out that last year’s tournament was staged at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, but this week’s event reverts back to the track it was held on from 2009 to 2011, and indeed from 2005 before it came under the WGC banner.
It’s a layout that’s easily tamed, as four round totals of 20 under par in both 2005 and 2011 suggest, with those that turn up with a hot putter fancying their chances of going low.
Ryan Moore putted better than all bar one of the field when defeating Gary Woodland in a play-off in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Monday – the event going into an extra day due to fading light. There were plenty of pointers to Moore’s success, signposted with successive top 11 finishes on his last two starts in America.
After his win in Kuala Lumpur, Moore said that he always enjoys playing at this time of year and there’s no reason why he cannot follow that victory with another at a course where he was third in 2009 – available at 33/1 with Ladbrokes.
Fellow 33/1 shot Peter Uihlein hasn’t got Moore’s pedigree, but in the years to come he could easily surpass his more experienced compatriot’s current haul of three PGA Tour wins.
He managed to grab followers some place money last time out in the BMW Masters – his third top seven on the spin – when only a poor second round 75 prevented him from doing even better.
The best of the Europeans could be a fit again Peter Hanson at 40/1 with Ladbrokes.
The Swede has been affected with a back injury all season but finished with a 63 at Lake Malaren on Sunday to finish eighth (ranking second in putting average) and can boast two top tens at Sheshan.
My three off the tee – Moore (33/1), Uihlein (33/1) and Hanson (40/1).