WGC: HSBC Champions
As the 2016 Race to Dubai enters the closing stretch The HSBC Champions event returns to the Sheshan course in China. The par 72 course is not overly long at 7,250 yards but driving accuracy is rewarded here as are accurate approach shots to greens which, though large, are full of slopes and undulations.
OUTRIGHT: Charl Schwartzel, 1 pt win and place 60/1 (1/4 odds 5 places)
There’s no doubting that Schwartzel has had a quiet season by his standards on the PGA Tour but his recent top five place finish in The BMW Championships marked him out as a player to note in the close season where his record is very good. His course form here of 6T in 08, 16T in 10 and 4T in 11 back up the case for siding with him this week at value odds.
OUTRIGHT: Ross Fisher, 0,5 pts win and place 60/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Fisher sprang to life in September finishing runner up in both The European Open and The Dunhill Links and can be forgiven for running out of steam the following week at the British Masters. Thankfully he rested last week and will consequently be fresh for the challenge ahead in Shanghai this week. He ought to be fancying his chances here too as his course form reads 2T in 07, 16T in 10 and 3T in 15 when he shot an excellent 65 in round 3
OUTRIGHT: Hao-Tong Li, 1 pt win Top Ten Only 25/1
Young Chinese player Li did not take long to make his mark on the European Tour. He followed up some eye catching performances in 2015 with a win in April at the Volvo China Open marking him down as a player very much to follow on home soil. His form in Europe subsequent to that win has hardly been sparkling but he has been making cuts and back on home soil he looks excellent value in this market.
PGA TOUR: Sanderson Farms Championships
The par 72 Jackson CC hosts this event for the third time in succession. It is quite long though with some difficult par 4 holes and a tough closing stretch. Quality, accurate ball striking is the key characteristic for scoring well.
OUTRIGHT: Chris Kirk, 1 pt win and place 14/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Although Kirk has no course form here he does possess the steady, accurate ball striking game which can give him an edge on this track so he starts as justified favourite. He has already knocked some of the rust off his game with encouraging top ten finish last week in The Safeway event.
OUTRIGHT: Patton Kizzire, 1 pt win and place 18/1 (1/4 odds 5 places)
In what may be a mirror image of the 2016 season Kizzire has started the season well finishing runner-up to Brendan Steele last week in the Safeway event. Hailing as he does from the Southern State of Alabama he ought to feel at home in these surroundings and will be looking to improve on last year’s excellent tied fourth place here.
OUTRIGHT: Whee Kim, 0.5 pts win and place 60/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Kim is a young Korean player who, although yet to make his mark on Tour, is full of promise and potential. Top tens in the RBC Heritage and The John Deere Classic bode well as both courses favour good ball striking. Kim is accurate off the tee but had issues last season with his approach shots to the green. Therefore his improved performance in approach play last week, when he finished tied thirteenth, augurs well and he looks a fair value bet at these odds.