Outside of the major championships, the four World Golf Championship events are the most prestigious tournaments in golf. However, while the world’s best players plan their seasons around the majors, it’s not uncommon to see big names pull out of the WGCs. That’s exactly what’s happened with the HSBC Champions with a selection of top players deciding to give the Shanghai tournament a miss in favour of an extended end of season break.
That’s not to say that the field assembled at Sheshan International is lacking in quality. Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama dominate the early betting while players like Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day are all well fancied for a crack at the title.
Sheshan Offers a Chance to All
Sheshan International has been the host for all but one edition of this tournament and as such there is plenty of previous course form to go on. Unfortunately for those who enjoy digging deep into the stats, nothing really leaps off the page at Sheshan. Yes, it is important to score well on the par fives and, yes, stunning putting performances have produced winners, but with champions as varied as David Howell, Russell Knox and Bubba Watson, it’s very much a case of how many, not how.
Fleetwood to Prove His Class Once Again
Justin Thomas has been the biggest story on the PGA Tour over the last 12 months or so. The American has won big tournaments all over the world including the CJ Cup last week but he is among those who are putting their feet up this time. That opens the door for the biggest story of the current European Tour season, Tommy Fleetwood.
Fleetwood has long been held in high regard in Europe but 2017 was the year that people in America really started paying attention. It’s also the year that the Englishman became a father for the first time and we’ve all seen the importance of the so called nappy factor. Fleetwood has the power to keep up with Sheshan’s 7,421 yards and the accuracy to manufacture more birdie chances than most. At 33/1 with Bet365, you could argue that Fleetwood’s chances have been paid a disservice but a win at those odds will certainly boost punters’ coffers very nicely indeed.
Noren’s Never Too Far Away from His Best
Alex Noren has cut a rather frustrated figure on the golf course recently. It never looks particularly easy for the Swede, who is one of the hardest workers in the game, but recently golf has looked more difficult than usual for him. But don’t let that put you off. Noren is the sort of player who can find his best form from seemingly nowhere and the work he’s put in ahead of this week’s tournament could well pay off.
Noren is famously critical of his golf swing. He believes it’s ugly but he couldn’t be happier with his putting stroke. He is capable of pouring them in from all over the green which is exactly what Hideki Matsuyama did when winning 12 months ago. If Noren’s ball striking is anywhere near his best, he’ll have plenty of birdie chances and can take full advantage to claim his first WGC win at 55/1 with Bet365.