The European Tour remains in China this week for the penultimate event of the 2015 Race to Dubai. An excellent field has assembled for the BMW Masters.
This will be the fourth running of the BMW Masters. Sweden’s Peter Hanson was the winner in 2012, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano took the title in 2013 and, last season, Germany’s Marcel Siem came out on top, winning a playoff against Ross Fisher and Alexander Levy.
There’s a limited field of just 78 players for this event and there will be some important battles to watch out for.
At the very top of the Race to Dubai standings, Danny Willett is only just behind Rory McIlroy after his strong finish in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Willett starts this week but McIlroy doesn’t. If the Englishman finishes well, he’ll take the Race to Dubai lead into the final week in Dubai. Others who could possibly move into the Race to Dubai lead with victory this week include Shane Lowry (currently 3rd,) Louis Oosthuizen (4th) and Justin Rose (5th).
The top-15 players after Dubai will be in line to share the Race to Dubai bonus pool. Ross Fisher is currently in 15th spot, but some strong players are lurking just outside the bubble and will be aiming to play their way in this week. Henrik Stenson is currently 18th as an example.
The top-60 on the Race to Dubai standings after this event will qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Marcus Fraser is currently 60th but there are five players biting at his heels. Kristoffer Broberg, Graeme Storm, Scott Hend, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Benjamin Hebert are ranked 61st to 66th, and all start in Shanghai.
The Masters Course at Lake Malaren is a Jack Nicklaus designed parkland layout featuring his usual blend of extensive bunkering and large water hazards. It’s a visually intimidating course and one that can be stretched to almost 7,600 yards.
The weather forecast for Shanghai looks reasonably settled with the possibility of a little rain on Friday. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem though.
Venue: Lake Malaren GC, Shanghai, China
Date: Nov 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 7,594 yards
Defending Champion: Marcel Siem (-16)
Thursday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am
Friday 13– Sky Sports 4 from 3am
Saturday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am
Sunday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am
Ross Fisher – The Englishman lost in a playoff for this event last year and he was tied third last week in the HSBC Champions.
Thongchai Jaidee – Another man on good form, Jaidee was tied 11th last week and was winner of the recent Porsche European Open. He was second in the BMW Masters of 2013
Justin Rose – A winner on his last outing in China – the Hong Kong Open in October, Rose is currently 5th on the Race to Dubai standings and will be looking to put himself in prime position with a victory in this event.
Justin Rose swing sequence:
Key Hole: 18th – A classic Nicklaus finishing hole: A dog-leg left with water all down the left hand side. It’s 471 yards long so demands two solid blows and the more of the corner you cut off from the tee, the shorter the approach will be.