Find da Gold - The 2016 WGC HSBC Champions

By zachwoodsgolf
Oct. 25, 2016

Where Da Gold at DegenNation?  Note to self, and to all of you guys.  When someone wins TPC Kuala Lumpur do not fade them simply because they are the defending champ.  Justin Thomas just went back to back after Ryan Moore had done the exact same thing prior to JT's victories.  Thomas now has two career PGA Tour wins with both coming at the CIMB Classic.  What exactly the key to winning the CIMB Classic is up for debate because Moore and Thomas are very different types of players to say the least.

This week the Tour heads about 5 hours via plane northeast of Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai China for the WGC HSBC Champions Tournament.  This is another no-cut event and will be played when its 100% dark here in the United States, woohoo more late night drinking and golf watching!  Apparently it was the hottest summer in 130 years in Shanghai this year recently in the last few days it has rained 5+ inches. It would appear the course has taken its fair share of abuse lately and Lift Clean Place may come into effect again here this year like it did last year.  This is another tournamnet where shot tracker has not been used in the past so our data to work with is rather limited.  To help clear things up the last 4 winners from most recently are Russell Knox, Bubba Watson (Tim Clark Runner Up), Dustin Johnson, and Ian Poulter.  I mentioned Tim Clark because A) I really miss Tim Clark for DFS purposes and B) Clark is/was a phenomenal iron player who's putter could catch straight fire, which brings me back to point A of how I really miss Tim Clark.  On this list I see bombers and non-bombers but I also see some really good Iron players.  Just something to keep in mind when doing your research. 

Course Information

Sheshan International Golf Club -  Shanghai, China

Architects-  Nelson & Haworth Golf Course Architects firm 2004

Par 72 7,261 yards 4 par 3's 12 par 4's 4 par 5's

Fairways - Rye grass/Paspalum mix

Rough- Rye grass/Paspalum mix, more penalizing than in the past years

Greens- Bentgrass 11' on the Stimpmeter, slower than in the past

Hazards - Water in play on holes 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18

Key Stats (Full Disclosure, I weight a bunch of stats each week but these will be weighted the heaviest. It is early in the season so all the stats I am using are based on lasts years and the first week of this season)

Strokes Gained Tee 2 Green - SGT2G

Birdie or Better % - BoB%

Par 5 Scoring

Strokes Gained Approach

Driving Accuracy

Proximity 200+ yards

$9,000 +

Rory McIlroy $12,100

In the end...you heard them Rory...you know you did...
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

DJ, Rory, DJ, Rory...I'm going Rory, call it recency bias if you must but since round 4 of the Tour Championship DJ just hasn't played as well as McIlroy, grant it that was only 1 round and then the Ryder Cup but I had to go one over the other.  Rory is #2 in BoB% behind only, you guess it DJ.  He is also #1 in par 5 scoring and #2 in proximity from 200+.  His par 3 scoring has me a bit worried but most of the par 3's here are 200+ yards so I am banking on the fact that his proximity to the hole from 200+ will outweigh his par 3 scoring.  When you get down to it these top 2 guys are the top 2 for a reason.  Maybe you want to try to build a LU with both of them in it, it is possible!

Paul Casey $9.600

Entering last weeks CIMB Casey had 4 straight top 4 finishes.  He started out hot out the gates last week and shot a -7 on the first round, from there on out he didn't get much going and ended up posting a T21.  I'm going to go ahead and ignore his last few rounds and attribute it to a of Jet lag.  This week he should be fully acclimated to the time change and he is playing on a course he has had some good results at.  In 10 of his last 12 rounds at Sheshan IGC the Englishman has posted round below par rounds, the other two were an even par round and a +1.  He ranks in the the top 20 in SGT2G, SG Approach, GIR, Par 4 scoring and last but not least Bogey avoidance.  Top 5 upside, best case scenario 2nd place.

$7,0000-$8,900

Russell Knox $8,600

The defending champ is the 13th highest priced player and he stated at the CIMB he played in that event to get ready to defend his title.  He finished T10 last week at the CIMB so he is in decent form despite a poor showing last Sunday.  He ranks in the top 30 in Par 3 and Par 4 scoring,  Bogey avoidance, GIR %, Scrambling,  overall proximity and proximity from 175-200 yds and 200+.  What Knox really needs to do to win is to bring his putter, everything else is pretty reliable but his putter is the wild card.  He won his first career event here last year by dropping pressure putt after pressure putt so he knows he can do it here.    Can he go back to back? 

Louis Oosthuizen $7,400

I cannot believe I am putting Louis here, but he has finished in the top 15 here 3 of his last 4 trips and he finished in the top 20 in his last 3 PGA Tour events.  He is the top ranked par 3 player in this field and he ranks 13th in proximity from 200+. His BoB% is ugly, thats all I'll say about that but in his last 8 events he has made the cut and finished 23rd or better in all of them.  I'm guessing he is going to come in pretty low owned based on those in his price range.  Hopefully he brought his bed with him!

Less than $7,000

Jason Kokrak  $6,300

Kokrak is a player I always want to play but just can't do it because the risk of the MC is too great.  Well this week there is no cut so he is finally going to get his shot to help take home "Da Gold" . He ranks 10th in approach proximity from 200+ yards. 27th in SGT2G  35th in SG Approach.  He only ranks 61st in BoB% but that puts him in the top half of this field and his Bogey avoidance % is 12th in this field.  If you are looking to stack a few of the Top plays and need a decent option down low Kokrak is worth a look.

Leprechaun of the Week

Bradley Dredge

The one the only...Bradley Dredge
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry for the shorter write up this week, had some things come up that limited my write up time.  I'll be back next week with the polls and as always if I win the listener league I will pick 3 people and send them a "Where Da Gold At" T-shirt.   Good luck to everyone this week and GO CUBS!

Joe Maddon always talks about "Sticking to the Process" we could all learn a little from Joe by doing the same ourselves...
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports