WGC HSBC Champions: Strong Field Assembles in China

wga-hsbc-champions-logoThis week’s tournament in China represents the fourth and final leg of the World Golf Championships and we will have a strong declaration ahead of the first tee off on Thursday. Yes there are some notable absentees including Jordan Spieth and last week’s winner Justin Thomas but 78 of the world’s best golfers are at the Shenshen Golf Club to battle it out.

Qualification

The qualification process comes via results on the various tours across the world. Of course, the most important of these are the European Tour and the PGA Tour in the US so while some big names have taken a break, we are guaranteed a very competitive four days.

Added to this we have golfers from the Asian Tour, the Japan Tour and from Australia too so it’s a truly global event and one that should provide lots of entertainment this week. That’s your brief guide but who are the bookmakers looking at?

Out in Front

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson is the Number One Ranked Golfer in the World and therefore an obvious favourite at a top price of 9/1 with Stan James and SportingBet. It’s been another productive year for the American who has claimed three wins on the PGA Tour including two of the three World Golf Championships.

He’s also a previous winner at this event, having lifted the trophy in 2013 so he has all the credentials to win it this time around. He has, however, taken a small break from the game since finishing 17th at the Tour Championship but that really is just one small negative to his claims.

There isn’t a huge gap to the second favourite however, with defending champion Hideki Matsuyama on offer at best odds of 11/1 with BetFred. When he won in China 12 months ago, it came as part of a stellar run that saw him claim five tournaments in four months.

That form has been elusive for the second part of 2017 but a win in August in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational has Matsuyama set up nicely for this week.

Bubbling Under

This week’s chasing pack shows three golfers tied at best odds of 18/1 and any of these three could give you a good run for your money. Jason Day starts things off at that 18/1 figure with Paddy Power and Sun Bets and the former world number one has just started to show brief glimpses of his best form.

It’s been a landmark year for Jon Rahm with his first wins either side of the Atlantic and the Spaniard is at 18/1 with Bet365 but the form man in this pack is Marc Leishman. The Aussie lost out in a play off to Justin Thomas at the weekend and now has three top three finishes in his last four events including victory in the BMW Championship. As an 18/1 shot with Betway and 188Bet, we’re looking to Leishman as our first tip this week.

Other good prices in this section include Paul Casey at a best of 20/1 with William Hill and Winner Sports. He’s a consistent top ten finisher on the PGA Tour and has the capability of getting over the line in any tournament.

Long Shots

Any golf tournament can be tough to call and we frequently get winners with high, double figure prices. Among the interesting figures this week include the 22/1 from Stan James on 2017 US Open Champion Brooks Koepka while Tyrrell Hatton, who arrives with back to back wins on the European Tour, is listed at a top price of 28/1 with Stan James and BetFred.

But you can move even further through the list to get some great prices on previous winner Francesco Molinari at best odds of 33/1 with Coral and 888Sport, the in-form Pat Perez at 35/1 with Paddy Power and Xander Schauffele, who is also in great touch and even further out at 40/1 with Stan James and SkyBet.

As a real outside punt, Charl Schwartzel is a consistent performer and while he down at 66/1 with most bookies, Stan James have an excellent best price on the South African of 100/1.

Key Stats

Last year, Hideki Matsuyama showed some devastating form with the putter and that could be a key factor again in 2017. Who is in form with the flatstick? Aside from those players who are sitting this one out, you have to look at Marc Leishman again and that just confirms our Each Way tip for the Aussie.

Golf is a game where the Top Ten market can be more profitable and our picks here are Paul Casey at 7/4 with SkyBet and Xander Schauffele at 10/3 with SkyBet again. Both men have the quality and can cope with the pressure of a putting battle and they should do well this week.

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