The fourth and final World Golf Championship of the year, the WGC-HSBC Champions, takes place this week at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China.
Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer won the tournament last year courtesy of a scintillating final-round 63 at Sheshan Internatinal Golf Club.
But a change of venue, coupled with a strong international field, will make defending his title an unenviable task.
Despite the absence of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, seven of the world’s top ten have made the trip to China’s south-east coast.
Mission Hills’s Olazabal Course, at 7,251 yards, isn’t overly long, and with five reachable par 5s and no par 4s over 460 yards, low scoring will be the order of the tournament.
Ian Poulter, at 16/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good bet this week. The Englishman has a great record in Asia and is renowned for his strong late-season showings. He shot a final-round 65 last week in Shanghai – where he led the field in Greens in Regulation – to finish alone in fourth place, and spoke afterwards of his desire to end the season on a high. If he putts the way he did at the Ryder Cup, he will be in contention this week.
Nicolas Colsaerts, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, is someone I expect to do well again this week. The big-hitting Belgian has become one of the most consistent players on the European Tour, and as the longest driver in top-tier golf, he has the ability to overpower the Olazabal Course. He finished in a tie for 14th last week at the BMW Masters without really getting going, and has only finished outside the top 20 once since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August.
Robert Garrigus, at 33/1 with Ladbrokes, is one of the form golfers in the world game. He has broken 70 in 14 of his last 16 rounds, and showed his proficiency for golf in Asia with a second-place finish at last week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He is the third-longest driver on the PGA Tour and also leads the tour in both Par 3 Birdie Average and Approaches from 175-225 yards. He is a perfect fit for a golf course with five par 3s and five par 5s.
Carl Pettersson, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, is worth considering this week. He returned to action after a lengthy break last week in Malaysia, finishing in a tie for seventh place, thanks largely to a brilliant 10-birdie 62 in the final round. He is also 20th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained – Putting and ninth in Putting from 5-10 Feet.
Jbe Kruger, at 100/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good each way bet. The South African played some fine golf last week en route to a top-10 finish at the CIMB Classic, which included a second-round 64 in the company of Tiger Woods. He won his first European Tour title in India earlier this season and followed that with a tie for 11th at the Maybank Malaysian Open and a tie for 18th at the Volvo China Open.
WGC-HSBC Champions advised bets:
2pts outright on Ian Poulter at 16/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Nicolas Colsaerts at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Robert Garrigus at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Carl Pettersson at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Jbe Kruger at 100/1 with Ladbrokes