A fine field, including top players from both main tours, has assembled in Shanghai for the WGC HSBC Champions and after landing the place money with two selections last week the BB golf team are in fine form. So who are they backing at Sheshan International? Read on to find out...
"I think 28-1 is decent on a course where Westwood's last three years of form reads 13th/second/eighth, and let's not forget the Worksop Wonder does have 22 European Tour wins to his name."
Joe Dyer says: Back Lee Westwood @ 29.028/1
After a solitary year at Mission Hills, the WGC HSBC Champions returns to Sheshan International for the 2013 event and that's great news for us golf bettors as we have a good few years of course form to go on. Just a cursory look at previous years' results at Sheshan shows us that Lee Westwood loves to play these Shanghai links and the Englishman is my selection as I chase more winnings after Thongchai Jaidee landed the place money at 25-1 last week!
Westwood is generally a poor price and I almost can't bring myself to watch him with the putter in his hands but I think 28-1 is decent on a course where his last three years of form reads 13th/second/eighth, and let's not forget he does have 22 European Tour wins to his name. It's been an odd year for the former world no.1 and his end of season form in the US was not good, but 24th last time out hopefully blew the cobwebs off and a return to a course he enjoys can bring about a high finish in a small field.
Mike Norman: Back Francesco Molinari @ 34.033/1
In-form Joe Dyer has gone for Lee Westwood, which is a huge relief as it took away the dilemma of whether or not to recommend him myself! Three years ago Westwood and my selection Francesco Molinari ran away from the field (nine shots clear of the third) when they finished first and second (Molinari won by one stroke) at this venue, and with the Italian putting in a strong performance last week to finish in a tie for second I'm a little surprised that he is available to back at a bigger price than the Worksop Wonder. The worry is that Molly isn't so great when in contention these days, but like Westwood he appears to like this venue a lot - top-10 in 2009 and a top-25 a year after his win - so if he can continue where he left off on Sunday then he must go close.
Steve Rawlings: Back Brett Rumford @ 81.080/1
Considering he suffered the disappointment of failing to win in his hometown when favourite with a round to go at the Perth International the week before, Brett Rumford played well at the BMW Masters in Shanghai last week. Finishing 15th, he ranked 14th for scrambling and 6th for putting (the two most important stats to consider here) and given he's already won twice on the European Tour already this year (back-to-back in Korea and China), I thought he was a generous enough price here.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Henrik Stenson @ 15.014/1
In almost any other week on the golfing calendar, I wouldn't even consider backing a 14/1 chance each-way but an exception must be made for several reasons. First, the WGC-HSBC Champions Trophy is a smaller field of 76, at least half of whom appear to have no chance, making it much easier than usual to earn a place payout. Secondly, this event is nearly always dominated by the market leaders. Third, the case for Henrik Stenson is overwhelming. The best player in the world this summer, Stenson can be forgiven an ordinary performance last week as it was his first start since winning the FedEx Cup. Notably he'd shaken off any rust by Sunday, when shooting 65. As encouraging are impressive numbers at Sheshan, where he's made the top-20 on four of his last visits. He wasn't in any sort of form before finishing 13th in 2010, nor when fifth in 2008. He's never arrived here boasting anything like this year's credentials and the Swede should, in my view, start as favourite ahead of Rory McIlroy.
Dan Geraghty: Back Jordan Spieth @ 29.028/1
Rory McIlroy and the rest of the world's elite golfers have no Tiger Woods to worry about this week but come Sunday they may be chasing another American. Jordan Spieth, the most exciting prospect for many a year is making his WGC debut in China. The young American had quite a rookie season, registering a win, nine top 10's (tied with Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker for most on tour in 2013) and competed in the winning president's cup team. It really would come as no surprise to see this prestigious talent win a WGC at his first attempt.