Another week, another tournament in Asia that guarantees four rounds for all of our players. This week we’re at the Sheshan International GC in Shanghai, a 7,261 yard par 72. With winners such as Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Russell Knox, it’s clear than different types of golfers can conquer the course. The premium, however, will be on strong ball striking with hitting the fairways and greens vital on this golf course.
Much like last week, line-up lock is early so remember to get your line-ups sorted by Wednesday evening!
This week looks to be about two players, Rory and DJ. Both are deservedly priced significantly higher than the next player; however, if you look further down there are some great players. I’ll mainly be playing balanced line-ups with birdie makers given we have another guaranteed four rounds this week.
Dustin Johnson ($11,900) –With Rory changing driver this week from Nike, I’ll be looking more at Dustin. A former course winner (2014) he also finished 5th here last year. He suits the no cut format well given his attacking style of golf and the number of birdies he makes (ranked 1st in birdie or better). Having won his first Major this year, he’ll be looking to use that as a springboard to bigger and better things, and I expect it to start with adding another WGC to his locker.
Paul Casey ($9,600) – After fading Casey last week, I was happy to see him fade after a strong opening round of 65. He did, however, manage another good finish (T21) with 80 DK points. Having finished in the top four in his previous four outings he’s clearly in fantastic form. A truly international player, he has played in the Far East numerous times and should be comfortable with the surroundings. I expect his ownership to fall this week given his lower finish in Malaysia, and I’m happy to take him to keep his hot streak.
Patrick Reed ($9,000) – After such an intense Ryder Cup, I’m not surprise Reed disappointed last week. Nothing was going to compare to Hazeltine. He will, however, want to show people that his performance for the US wasn’t a one off, and I’d expect him to be hugely up for this WGC event. He has played here twice and finished T7 last year showing the course fits. With the potential that people are off him after last week, I’m happy to jump back on the Patrick Reed bandwagon.
Brooks Koepka ($8,500) – Whenever there are four guaranteed rounds, I always play Brooks. He’s a monster off the tee, and makes birdies for fun, and has the ability to make eagles. He has never played here before, but has a game which should suit. As long as Brooks remains a mid-range price, I’ll be taking him.
Rickie Fowler ($8,400) – Fowler has had an interesting year. After losing his way in the Masters, he seemed to lose focus completely. Just three top 10s followed in his next 15 events. I believe, however, that now is the time to start backing him. His price is incredibly low, and his stats show he isn’t in terrible form despite the lack of top results having finished the year ranked 6th in strokes gained: total. He has finished well here the last two years with a T3 and T17 showing he likes the course. With four rounds to play, Rickie looks a great GPP play given his upside, and probable low ownership.
Francesco Molinari ($8,300) – He’s probably too expensive, but I expect him to be low owned. A course winner (2010) and a winner last time out, Molinari looks like a good thing. A sneaky play who I think most people will completely bypass.
Matt Kuchar ($7,900) – Mr Reliable missed the cut last time out, and I expect his ownership to take a hit. While I don’t think the guaranteed four rounds suits his game, I’m convinced the course will. For me, his stats fit perfectly with the course given he keeps it on the fairway, makes birdies, is strong with his long irons, and – despite a lack of length – scores well on par 5s. He has shown an ability to play around the world, such as at the Olympics. I don’t expect the change in scenery, or the lack of course form, to faze him.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,800) – The young Argentine is a special talent as shown by his Rookie of the Year title. He showed up well again last week in Malaysia with a top 20 finish and 94.5 DK points. It was his 9th top 20 finish in his last 14 tournaments. Fantastic form. Given this course suits strong ball strikers, I would expect him to better his debut T35 here from last year. Despite this average finish, he still managed 17 birdies and an eagle, a strong haul which shows the course suits, at least from a DK perspective!
Si Woo Kim ($7,700) – Another tournament, and once again I’ll be playing Si Woo Kim! Yet again he delivered last week with a 10th placed finish and 93.5 DK points in Malaysia. He is on a streak of four consecutive top 20s and with his long straight driving, his game should suit the course. Has shown he is not afraid of winning on tour, and I expect him to continue going from strength to strength.
Louis Oosthuizen ($7,400) – This is very much a GPP play. Louis can turn up at any moment, and despite his low price, he’s actually been playing well recently. With top 25s in seven of his last nine tournaments I’d hope Louis can carry on where he left off. The price, however, is too good to ignore given that he’s a top class player. Having played here a number of times he should know the course well. Has a habit of withdrawing with back issues; however, at this price he’s hard to ignore.
Kevin Kisner ($6,900) – Kisner has had an interesting year. Twelve months ago at this event he finished runner up and followed up shortly after with a win. The wheels subsequently fell off in 2016, however, in the latter part of the year he looked to be improving with a number of top 20s, including at the PGA Championship. He began his season last week with a promising T26 at the CIMB, which included 18 birdies and 1 eagle. At a course which suits this week, I expect him to continue this upturn in form at a good price.
Gary Woodland ($6,700) – Last week Woodland was highly fancied at a price of $9,600. He disappointed and he’s now $6,700. A huge drop in price, and a huge discount. His form prior to last week had been fantastic, and I expect him to get back to that form this week. He has played here twice and last year improved hugely on his play the prior year. This included finishing with a 65 which should hopefully give him positive vibes this week. With four guaranteed rounds, he’s another player who can rack up the birdies in this format.
Jason Kokrak ($6,300) – Kokrak looks the best play at the low end. He has great upside as shown by his form in the FedEx Cup where he finished top 20 in three of four tournaments. He missed the cut at the Safeway Open but I’m not too worried about that as he may have been rusty. He’s never played the course; however, with four guaranteed rounds, the risk of not taking the course is slightly lower.
The World Ranking Play:
Jimmy Walker ($7,400) – The USPGA Champion is ranked 17th in the world, yet 35th in this field. Given his propensity to make birdies, with four guaranteed rounds, he could be a good, sneaky play. He has played the course twice, and while he’s never pulled up any trees, he should know the course. He showed up fairly well in the FedEx Cup with a 3rd place at the Deutsche Bank showing he has form. An elite putter and birdie maker, I like Walker this week.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,000) – I really like Hideki this week, but at such a discount to the top two I fear he’s going to be hugely owned. He has withdrawn here two of three appearances, and with only one round in seven in the 60s here, he may have a mental block. His current form looks great, and as a premium ball striker this should suit, but given it’s not clicked here so far, I’m happy to swerve him this week.