Fantasy Insider: World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions & Bermuda Championship
October 29, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
World Golf Championships All-time shots
After this week's doubleheader consisting of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Bermuda Championship, the PGA TOUR rests for one week before finishing the fall with the Mayakoba Golf Classic and The RSM Classic. As a result, the Fantasy Insider column will be on hiatus until Tuesday, Nov. 12, thus the additional week of birthdays at the bottom.
Only the WGC-HSBC Champions is in play for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. If it scores anything like the first two stops on the Asian Swing, then the winner of the week will land at right around 880 points. That was the total posted by "tampatom" as the medalist at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. The four-way T1 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP touched 877 points.
ShotLink remains off for all fantasy action until the Sentry Tournament of Champions launches Segment 2 in January.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the WGC-HSBC Champions (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Rafa Cabrera Bello; Sungjae Im; Francesco Molinari; Andrew Putnam; Xander Schauffele; Danny Willett
Power Rankings Wild Card
Cameron Smith … As he rapidly rounds back into form, which he's proven to do at this time of year, something will give. Despite success in the fourth quarter, he's finished just T64 (2015) and T54 (2018) at Sheshan International. His scoring average is 73.38. Because there's no cut, you're better off rolling the dice with a talent who's had success here before. However, if you're into contrarianism, he presents as the golden ticket given the value of course experience. So, consider fractionally in DFS.
Danny Willett … At ninth in the Race to Dubai and with a win at the BMW PGA Championship, he's proven to be all the way back from injury and disappointment. The 2016 Masters champion is among the best putters on the European Tour, but that strength pays off his similarly capable approach game. Placed T3 at Sheshan International in 2015 when he walked off with a course-record-tying 62.
Francesco Molinari … Once upon a time, his victory at Sheshan International (in 2010) was considered official for PGA TOUR annals, but it was later stripped for clearer record-keeping. (This tournament endured a few years of unofficial/official placement before all doubt was eliminated in 2013.) So, the Italian's official breakthrough victory occurred at the Quicken Loans National in 2018. That history lesson aside, his tee-to-green game along should trigger a top 25, but inconsistent form here recently and in recent weeks has lowered his temperature among gamers.
Kurt Kitayama … Look away if you're the analytical type and focus only on the results, especially the most recent. The UNLV product plies his craft on the European Tour where he's a two-time winner this season. And in his last four circuit starts, he's gone T21-T14-3rd-4th to sit 12th in the Race to Dubai. The 26-year-old has captured the attention of DFSers for a while now, but this marks his debut in a World Golf Championship. Go ahead and find a seat on the bandwagon.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Jordan Spieth … In retrospect, I gave him too much benefit of the doubt at Narashino where his struggling tee-to-green game cost him. He couldn't find the magic on the greens and finished T66. So, rather than chase his shadow once again at Sheshan International, I'm stuffing my hands into my pockets until the roster deadline. However, if you're curious, in his last appearance in 2015, he finished T7 despite checking up at T71 in fairways hit and T61 in greens in regulation. That's because he led the field with only 101 putts and ranked ninth in putts per GIR.
Matthew Fitzpatrick … Why does a guy with four runner-up finishes in a single season on the European Tour deserve this treatment? It's because he swings so far to the other end of the spectrum when he's not dialed in. Last week's 75th-place finish in Japan was baffling. The conservative in me must leave him to longer-term formats until he exhibits an aversion to big numbers. The same model can be applied to his experienced at Sheshan International where he has a pair of top 10s, a T16 and a T54.
Hao Tong Li … Hasn't missed an edition since it's been an official PGA TOUR event (2013-present), and he's gone for a pair of top 15s, but they are his only top 30s and he's been struggling of late. No need to reach on the native of China at home.
Returning to Competition
Kevin Na … Numerous qualifiers at the WGC-HSBC Champions elected not to commit, but he withdrew after the deadline. You won't miss him, though. He hasn't finished inside the top 50 in his last three tries at Sheshan International.
Bud Cauley … After a T9 at the Houston Open and two weeks off, he's 44th in the FedExCup standings, so there's no urgency to play again until he's ready.
Martin Trainer … Sigh. He's opened his sophomore season with five missed cuts in as many starts and he's gone 16 in a row without a payday. The silver lining is that the 2019 Puerto Rico Open champ is fully exempt on the PGA TOUR through 2020-21.
Mark Anderson … He's 2-for-4 on the season, 118th in the FedExCup and currently set to rise into the top 20 of the graduate reshuffle with still two more playing opportunities before the category reorders for the first time (after The RSM Classic).
Power Rankings Recap – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Justin Thomas T17
2 Rory McIlroy T3
3 Hideki Matsuyama 2nd
4 Gary Woodland 5th
5 Adam Scott T33
6 Matthew Fitzpatrick 75th
7 Patrick Reed T17
8 Paul Casey T17
9 Xander Schauffele T10
10 Adam Hadwin T41
11 Tommy Fleetwood T22
12 Tony Finau T59
13 Jordan Spieth T66
14 Ryan Moore T72
15 Louis Oosthuizen T46
Wild Card Jason Day T22
Sleepers Recap – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Ryo Ishikawa T51
Nate Lashley WD
Shaun Norris T51
Kevin Streelman 74th
Vaughn Taylor T41
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
October 29 … none
October 30 … none
October 31 … Mark Wilson (45)
November 1 … none
November 2 … James Hahn (38); Adam Hadwin (32)
November 3 … none
November 4 … Kevin Streelman (41)
November 5 … Jim Herman (42); Bubba Watson (41)
November 6 … Scott Piercy (41)
November 7 … Maverick McNealy (24); Joaquin Niemann (21)
November 8 … Troy Matteson (40); Francesco Molinari (37)
November 9 … David Duval (48); Ted Potter, Jr. (36); Nicholas Lindheim (35)
November 10 … Jon Rahm (25)
November 11 … Robert Garrigus (42); Joel Dahmen (32)