The Sheshan course in Shanghai marks the final World Golf Championship event of the season. Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Hunter Mahan have won the previous US based 2010 WGC events so what are we looking for in China this week? Some facts for you: 1) All WGC events since 2008 have been by PGA Tour regulars: Ogilvy-Woods-Singh-Mickelson-Ogilvy-Mickelson-Woods-Mickelson-Poulter-Els-Mahan; 2) All 5 winners of this tournament had won another tournament within the previous 3 months.
So we're looking for an American-based recent winner then? There's a little more to it than that, methinks! The Sheshan course is a bombers paradise where brute power prevails. There is a risk that the Bermuda over-seeded rough will be slightly longer this year, but length off the tee is still an absolute key to victory - a reasonably accurate bomber as opposed to a wayward slugger is more the requirement here. We are also looking for players who are fast bent grass green positive (12 on the stimp this week), plus those who are working their way into some form. Decent history at the CA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, Tour Championship and Qatar Masters also needs to be built into our selections, as does a victory so far this season.
The focus of the media will be the battle for the World Number 1 crown - whilst that will play a major part in the proceedings, we shouldn’t lose focus on the main attributes that will be required for victory this week. Using the predictor to fine tune your selections is a great way to start - click here to use this week's model.
If you're going to back Tiger Woods this week then the best offer has to be with 888 Sport. At the time of writing they are offering the best price on the market of 8/1; plus, if you're a new customer, you'll qualify for their £20 no lose bet offer via this link, so if he doesn't win then you get your money back up to a £20 stake. Can't say fairer than that!
Before I go into my tips for this events, it's worth highlighting an interesting market that Stan James have been running for a while now which I read about on facebook*. Instead of placing a straight E/W bet and getting 5 places paid as happens with most of the bookies, you can now place a single bet on the Stan James enhanced win-only market, plus a single bet for the same player to finish in the top 6 - this effectively gives you 6 places E/W. Check out the current markets at Stan James - and qualify for a free £25 bet if you don't already have an account - via this link.
Charl Schwartzel 1pt EW 50/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
Whilst it's easy to get distracted by the whole World Number 1 battle, for me there's significantly more value a little further down the field and I for one feel the winner could come at a much longer price than that being quoted about the top 4 in the World. Schwartzel ticks a number of boxes and being South African he'll be right at home on these greens.
Twice a winner already this season on the European Tour in South Africa - the latter in Joburg on a long tree-lined course with water in play everywhere and bent grass greens - Schwartzel has been working himself back into form in recent weeks with top 10s in 2 of his last 3 starts. 2nd at Doral and a 3rd round exit at the WGC Match Play proves that he can compete in this company, plus his 3rd place finish in Houston once again shows his liking for fast bent grass-based greens, as does his 6th place finish here in 2008. RESULT: T16
Robert Karlsson 1pt Win 66/1; 1pt top 6 finish 12/1 with £25 free bet - click here to claim now.
I poked my head around the office door to ask Steve Bamford his view of proceedings this week - as Steve was almost 100 points up for October it seemed silly not to! Steve was absolutely purring about Karlsson's chances this week following his 2nd place finish in Portugal on his last start on bent grass greens and his 6th place finish here in 2007. The Swede's win in Qatar earlier this season on the European Tour ticks another box and now that his eye problems are well and truly behind him it's only a matter of time before he starts winning big tournaments once again. When the best you're getting elsewhere is 60/1 and 5 places paid, Stan James' proposition is looking mighty attractive. RESULT: T34
Camilo Villegas 1pt EW 70/1 with Get a £10 free bet via this link: Coral £10 Free Bet
Other bookmakers make the Florida-based Colombian as short as 40s, so the 70/1 on offer from Coral stands out and simply won't last! Won in 2010 at the Honda Classic and also won the Tour Championship in 2008. 11th and 9th on his past 2 outings at the BMW and Tour Championship shows good progressive form and has Top 25 experience at Sheshan on his 2 visits to Shanghai - I'd expect him to go well again this week. RESULT: T51
Bill Haas 1pt EW 80/1 with Get a £10 matched bet via this link: Ladbrokes £10 Matched Bet
Twice a winner already this term, Haas has shown an exciting level of maturity and clinical finishing when it's mattered most and could now be ready to take a step up to the next level in terms of victories. His wins also sandwiched an impressive 6th place finish at Doral in similar company, a top 30 at Augusta and T-22 at TPC Boston, and he was far from disgraced in Malaysia for a 7-under total following finishes of 1-2 in his previous 2 tournaments. RESULT: T21
Y.E. Yang 1pt EW 100/1 with Get a £10 matched bet via this link: Ladbrokes £10 Matched Bet
Could history repeat itself? In 2006 a little-known Asian Tour player called YE Yang won the Korea Open to get an entry into this tournament which he subsequently won by holding off a fast-finishing Tiger Woods; in 2010 the same player - now a Major champion - comes to Sheshan having recently won the 2010 Korea Open by making up an incredible 10 shots on the final day and will be full of confidence having struggled in the middle part of the season.
Yang won the Volvo China Open back in April on a similar surface and tends to save his best playing in the East; now a regular on the PGA Tour he, more than anyone, fits the bill here from a trend perspective. 8th at the Masters is positive form for this event as it's played on lightning-fast bent grass, and his aforementioned win at the 7,600 yard Hazeltine course proves that length is no issue for the South Korean. RESULT: T51
All odds and bookmaker offers correct at 13:30GMT 2.11.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
* The page I referred to is run by one of our facebook members, Marcii, and features tips and commentary on golf tournaments - click here to take a look at Marcii's page, while you're there take a look at our page too!