Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 WGC-HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 23: Justin Rose of England poses with the trophy during a photocall prior to the WGC - HSBC Champtions at the Chamber of Commerce Shanghai on October 23, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 WGC-HSBC Champions

Fantasy

Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 WGC-HSBC Champions

The PGA Tour’s Asian Swing comes to a close this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.

The no-cut event will again be played at the 7,261-yard, par-72 Sheshan International Golf Club, which has hosted this event every year since the inaugural event in 2005 with the exception of 2012, when the tournament was played at Mission Hills.

This is very much a ballstriker’s course that rewards players for hitting fairways and greens. Besides looking at strokes gained tee to green (and the individual strokes gained statistics within that stat), also consider par-5 scoring and scrambling. (Remember, though, these Asian Swing events don’t use ShotLink, so take into account the end of last season, too.)

Here are my top 25 fantasy options for the season’s first WGC event:

1. Rory McIlroy: In six trips to Sheshan, McIlroy has four top 5s and nothing worse than T-11. Capped last season with five finishes of T-12 or better in six starts. Drove the ball better than anyone in the playoffs.

2. Justin Rose: In four starts at Sheshan, he has a win (2017) and two other finishes of T-7 or better. Currently riding a streak of four straight top-8 finishes.

3. Dustin Johnson: Won in his first trip to Sheshan, in 2014, and has two top 5s in three starts since, including T-2 last year. Third last time out, at the Tour Championship, though just lost his World No. 1 ranking to Brooks Koepka.

4. Hideki Matsuyama: Won here in 2016, though nothing better than T-41 in other four HSBC starts. Last week’s T-18 at CJ Cup was his worst finish in last six starts. Led the field at East Lake in SGATG by a considerable margin.

5. Brooks Koepka: New World No. 1 is coming off a win at the CJ Cup. Followed HSBC debut of T-40 in 2017 with T-2 finish last year.

6. Tony Finau: Made his first start at Sheshan last year and came away with a T-11 finish. Have to go back to PGA Championship find the last time he didn’t crack the top 15. Really fits the mold of a champion at this event.

7. Jason Day: Tied for 11th in HSBC debut last year. Started new season with T-5 in South Korea.

8. Tommy Fleetwood: Nothing better than T-18 in four HSBC starts. Has enjoyed four straight worldwide finishes of T-11 or better, plus there’s that Ryder Cup thing.

9. Paul Casey: Has six straight top 25s at Sheshan with four finishes of T-12 or better. Has been T-18 or better in both Asian Swing starts so far.

10. Rafa Cabrera Bello: Tied for 19th in first trip to Sheshan, in 2017, before finishing T-5 last year. Finished T-3 last week at CJ Cup. Ranks T-3 in GIR.

11. Tyrrell Hatton: Has gotten better each year here, finishing T-11 last year. After nearly winning the Dunhill Links, he shared 14th at CJ Cup.

12. Ian Poulter: Won this event when it was played at Mission Hills, but he also has two top-6 finishes at Sheshan with a pair of T-13 showings in six starts. Snapped some poor play with a T-10 at CJ Cup. Ranks third in scrambling.

13. Francesco Molinari: Won this event in 2010 and has two other top 10s in six trips to Sheshan. Followed incredible Ryder Cup performance with T-56 finish at British Masters, where he admitted he was battling a sore back.

14. Jon Rahm: Shared 36th in HSBC debut last year, but did shoot 69 in third round. Has gotten some rest since the Ryder Cup. Was T-11 in last start, at Tour Championship. Iron play continues to be his Achilles heel.

15. Alex Noren: Has just two top 20s in five trips to Shanghai. Opened new season with T-18 at CJ Cup. Hasn’t played par 5s well so far this season, but ranks T-3 in GIR.

16. Matthew Fitzpatrick: In three HSBC starts, he has two top 10s and hasn’t finished worse than T-16. Rebounded from MC at Dunhill Links with T-16 at British Masters.

17. Lucas Bjerregaard: Making HSBC debut this week, but has five top 10s in last six starts, including a win at the Dunhill Links.

18. Adam Scott: He has no top 10s at Sheshan in six trips, but he does have three top 15s. Appeared to get back on track with T-10 in South Korea. Ranks T-6 in par-5 scoring.

19. Eddie Pepperell: Won the British Masters in his last start as he’s cracked top 10 in four of past six starts. Making HSBC debut this week.

20. Keegan Bradley: Has a pair of top-16 finishes in three trips to Sheshan, but he was T-64 in his last start here, in 2015. BMW Championship winner was T-19 last time out, at CIMB Classic. Ranks T-11 in GIR.

21. Cameron Smith: T-64 in only HSBC start, in 2016. T-7 at CJ Cup was his best finish since posting back-to-back top-3 finishes in the playoffs. Struggled off the tee at Tour Championship, but was very strong with his irons. Ranks 18th in scrambling.

22. Patrick Cantlay: Made HSBC debut last year with T-15 finish. Has just three top 10s since the Memorial, though he does have seven top 25s. There’s no secret he can’t putt, but his ballstriking makes up for it.

23. Kyle Stanley: Tied for fifth in first appearance at Sheshan, though was solo 66th in South Korea. His ballstriking can carry him this week and he ranks 18th in scrambling.

24. Emiliano Grillo: Finished solo 11th last year after T-35 in HSBC debut. Followed T-2 in Malaysia with disappointing T-55 at CJ Cup.

25. Haotong Li: Has finished better than T-35 just once in five HSBC starts (T-7, 2016). Riding streak of two straight top 10s.

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