PGA Tour Picks: World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/5/2014
The first international PGA Tour event of the year was no help in picking a winner as American Ryan Moore won his second straight CIMB Classic title in Kuala Lumpur -- but on a different course than 2013. Thus that's why I wasn't a huge fan of his last week. Moore shot a final-round 5-under 67 to finish at 17 under and beat out fellow American Gary Woodland, who also was runner-up a year ago in a playoff to Moore. Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na also finished tied for second on Sunday.
I almost never recommend a guy defending a PGA Tour title unless it's at one of those courses where Tiger Woods totally dominates. Coincidentally, Moore is the first repeat winner of any Tour event since Tiger in 2012 & '13 at his favorite non-Augusta course: Bay Hill in Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
I was oh-so close to taking Sergio last week to win as the 10/1 Bovada favorite because Garcia always plays well in Asia. Yet I talked myself out of it simply because it's too lazy to go chalk at times. At least I did get Sergio at -125 for a Top 10. My pick to win was Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, but he finished T21at 7-under. I hit on Matsuyama head-to-head over Billy Horschel (T37) and Garcia at 13/10 as the top European.
I suggest you enjoy this week's big-money, limited-field World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. It's going to be the best field you will see in an official event until probably late January if not early February. And I'm saying this knowing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy aren't playing. Tiger is still recuperating from his injuries -- this is the only WGC event he has never won -- and McIlroy is taking some time away from golf to prepare for a February court case against his former management company. Lefty is off until late January.
Forty of the world's Top 50 are playing -- 11 of the 12 European Ryder Cup players and six of the USA players. It's the strongest field ever here and in only Year 2 being an official PGA Tour event. This is called "Asia's major," and it has come a long way since its beginnings in 2005. It's also event No. 2 of the four-tournament European Tour Final Series, which is that tour's FedEx Cup playoffs. McIlroy leads the Euro Tour's Race to Dubai points chase by a wide margin, but Garcia can cut the deficit in half with a victory this week. A win also would keep Henrik Stenson in the hunt to successfully defend last year's points crown.
American Dustin Johnson won here last year, blowing a six-shot lead at one point but closing with a final-round 6-under 66 for a three-shot win over Ian Poulter. Johnson, who was six shots clear of the field teeing off on No. 18 Saturday, set the tournament record at 24-under 264. Johnson won't be defending as he remains on his voluntary leave of absence -- cough, cough suspension.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: WGC-HSBC Champions Favorites
Bovada is late posting odds this week, so we use Sportsgbook.ag. Justin Rose is the +950 favorite. He was brilliant at the Ryder Cup and just missed a playoff last week at the BMW Masters. Rose has one win in his career in Asia, way back in 2002, but he was T5 here last year and T7 in 2011.
Adam Scott is next at +1200. The Aussie and world No. 2 loves playing in Asia with six career wins there, last the 2010 Singapore Open. He has finished in the Top 25 in each of his three prior appearances in Shanghai.
Garcia (+1350), Stenson (+1700) and Martin Kaymer (+1900) round out the favorites. Sergio is Mr. International as he has played just about everywhere in the past calendar year. He also loves Asia with five career wins, including this year's Qatar Masters and this tournament in 2008. Garcia, who is up to No. 3 in the world, played well last week -- he has four runner-up finishes in his last eight PGA Tour starts, and all have come in different parts of the world -- and was T4 here last year. Stenson was runner-up at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in his last start and is playing less than two weeks after his wife had child No. 3. Kaymer won here in 2011 and has two other Top-10s in Shanghai.
PGA Tour Picks: WGC-HSBC Champions Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I like Rose (-120), Garcia (+120), Graeme McDowell (+220), who has been third here twice, and Ian Poulter (+600). Poulter is scuffling at the moment but he won here in 2012 and had that runner-up last year. That price is fantastic value. Head-to-head, go with Stenson (-105) over Scott (-125), Rickie Fowler (-130) over Jordan Spieth, McDowell (-105) over Kaymer (-125), Keegan Bradley (-105) over Hunter Mahan (-125), Woodland (-130) over Moore (-125) and Poulter (-115) over Brandt Snedeker (-115).
Jamie Donaldson is interesting at +2500 to win. He hasn't finished worse than seventh in last four stroke-play events and was T4 last week at the BMW Masters and T8 at last year's WGC-HSBC. However, Garcia has to be my guy. He wins his first WGC event as this wasn't under that umbrella back in 2008.
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