A star-studded field will tee it up on Wednesday night for most of us with the WGC-HSBC Champions event at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai, China. You’ll have to get your lineups in early as the last event of the Asian swing gives way to a lot of fall events that the top pros wind up skipping. Nineteen of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking will be on hand and that means that some really good players are going to come in at really good prices.
With some players stopping at TPC Summerlin, but most taking it easy for the holidays, this will be the last we see a lot of these guys, so we should get a big effort from all involved, especially with a $10 million purse and a $1.8 million first-place prize.
We’ll dig down the board for some top value options for this event and for all the events this golf season.
Ian Poulter ($8,600) – Ian Poulter hasn’t played at Sheshan in a couple of years, but he was strong at the end of the 2017-18 season and vaulted himself far enough up the ranks to get back into this rather prestigious field. Poulter won this event the last year it was just a European Tour event in 2012 and then finished second to Dustin Johnson in 2013 when the PGA Tour recognized it as a tournament that should be an annual stop. Poulter was 10th last week in South Korea and only had six bogeys over his four rounds. Poulter played well around the greens last week and that is exactly the type of skill set needed this week.
Xander Schauffele ($8,100) – It’s time to go back to Xander Schauffele. Schauffele was barely inside the top 50 last week, but he did go low on Sunday along with the rest of the field with a 65. He was only 25th at the CIMB Classic, but he had two eagles and 20 birdies against just nine bogeys. Schauffele plays his best golf in the strongest fields. It’s just one of those things for him. He was second at the Players, sixth at the US Open, second at The Open Championship, top-10 in the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, and actually won the Tour Championship two years ago. The brighter the lights, the better he plays, and the lights are pretty bright for WGC events.
Kyle Stanley ($7,600) – It wasn’t pretty last week at the CJ Cup, but we got a little bit of value because of that on Kyle Stanley. Stanley opened with a top-15 at the CIMB Classic. He opened with a 72, but was terrific the rest of the way with a 68-66-64 run over his last 54 holes. Stanley was fifth here in his first start at Sheshan last year. Stanley didn’t putt well at the CIMB or at the CJ Cup, which is a bit of a concern at this course, but he was excellent early in the year last year and also played stellar golf in WGC events. He was solid at the Dell Match Play and second at the Bridgestone. He’s a good grab this week at a favorable price.
Cameron Smith ($8,200) – For the most part, this has worked well for us. Through two 2018-19 events, Smith has averaged 95 points at mostly reasonable salaries. With the strength of this week’s field, he’s a pretty good bargain once again. Smith has fired seven of his eight rounds in the 60s and was seventh last week at the CJ Cup in his tune-up for this one. Smith wasn’t rated well enough to get into this event last year, which was a shame because he was fifth at the CIMB and third at the CJ Cup before it. The fact that he couldn’t play probably gives us a little bit of value this week, since he would have been expected to put up good scores and probably would have done so. Without course form data, and with a stronger field, we’re likely saving a few hundred bucks on him.
Wu Ashun ($6,800) – Listed as Wu Ashun on DraftKings and A-Shun Wu on the ESPN leaderboard, this is a great value play on a guy that has played well in his home country in this event in the past. Ashun was 20th last year, 23rd in 2016, even par in 2015, and 14th in 2014. Ashun won the KLM Open last month on the European Tour, so he’s not exactly coming in here cold. He was also sixth the previous week in the Omega European Masters. He’s a great grab at a low price if you want to load up on some of the top names.