WGC-HSBC Champions: golf betting guide

The final World Golf Championship of the season, the WGC-HSBC Champions, gets underway this week at the Sheshan International Golf Club in China.

The event now forms part of the European Tour’s Finals Series and the PGA Tour’s year-long FedEx Cup schedule, and the strength of field reflects the event’s elevated global status.

The likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and defending champion Ian Poulter are all in the field this week.

The course is relatively long at 7,607 yards, but -20 and -19 winning totals in 2011 and 2010 indicate there are plenty of birdies to be made.

McIlroy is the 12/1 favourite with Ladbrokes, and whilst I think his return to the winner’s circle isn’t too far away, I’d be tempted to look elsewhere.

Jason Dufner, at 25/1 with Labrokes, is a tempting proposition this week. The American formed part of the Presidents Cup-winning American side and he’s notched four top 10s in his last six PGA Tour starts. Dufner also finished second in the WGC-HSBC Champions last year.

Lee Westwood, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, is someone who likes playing golf on the Orient. The Englishman has enjoyed a modest season by his standards, but a top 25 last week in China suggests he’s ready for a strong end-of-year showing. Westwood also finished second in the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2010, 13th in 2011 and sixth last year.

Nick Watney, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, will be looking for a fast start to the new season after a slightly lacklustre 2013 campaign. He ended last year on a high, though, with a second at the BMW Championship and a 13th at the Tour Championship, and he’s showed glimpses of top form in his last two events. Watney is also proficient in Asia, as he demonstrated with victory at the 2012 CIMB Classic.

Branden Grace, at 100/1 with Ladbrokes, is always a tempting option, especially at such a high price. Granted, his recent form hasn’t been exceptional, but the South African is a solid all-round golfer with experience of winning in China (2012 Volvo China Open).

WGC-HSBC Champions advised bets:

3pts each way on Jason Dufner at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
3pts each way on Lee Westwood at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Nick Watney at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on Branden Grace at 100/1 with Ladbrokes