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The Tour Report

October 25 2013

7:00 PM

First Look: WGC-HSBC Champions

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM contributor

WGC-HSBC Champions: Full field | About the course

• COURSE: Sheshan International GC (West), 7,266 yards, par 72. Set amid 1,000-year-old gingko trees, manmade waterways and a natural quarry, the Nelson & Haworth design returns as host after a one-year absence when the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions went to Mission Hills. Sheshan International opened in 2004 as the Shanghai region’s first golf club and remains one of its most exclusive. Tiger Woods once called the layout “the crowning jewel of all of Asian golf.” To create the layout’s drastic elevation changes, work crews reportedly moved more than 2 million cubic yards of earth.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 points.

• CHARITY: The First Tee is the primary beneficiary of World Golf Championships events. Proceeds also go to grassroots golf development in Asia, including the HSBC Youth Golfers program in 18 Singapore schools and the HSBC China Junior Golf program.

• FIELD WATCH: New FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson and three reigning major winners join defending champ Ian Poulter in the 77-man field. Stenson is up to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in the FedExCup Playoffs. ... With world No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 2 Adam Scott sitting out, British Open champion Phil Mickelson is highest ranked player in the field at No. 3. U.S. Open winner Justin Rose and PGA Championship titleholder Jason Dufner also make the trip. … Jordan Spieth, fresh off Rookie of the Year honors, tees it up for the first time in a WGC event. He took three weeks off after The Presidents Cup, where he went 2-2 as a Captain’s Pick. … Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein also will make his WGC debut. He won a European Tour stop in Portugal last May.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Ian Poulter (2012 at Mission Hills GC).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Daisuke Maruyama (4th round, 2009), Rory McIlroy (4th round, 2009), Ernie Els (4th round, 2009), Louis Oosthuizen (2nd round, 2012 at Mission Hills GC), Ernie Els (2nd round, 2012 at Mission Hills GC), Gaganjeet Bhullar (3rd round, 2012 at Mission Hills GC).

• LAST YEAR: Poulter roared back from a four-shot deficit entering the final day with a 7-under 65, adding a stroke-play title to his Ryder Cup heroics less than a month earlier. No fewer than five different players topped the leaderboard in the final round, but the English pro proved steadiest in collecting another World Golf Championships title to go with his Accenture Match Play crown in 2010. The victory allowed Poulter to avoid just his second winless season since turning pro in 1995. Jason Dufner’s closing 64 highlighted a four-way tie for second, two shots off the pace alongside Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Scott Piercy.

• STORYLINES: Even without Woods and Scott, the WGC-HSBC Champions has the strongest field of the PGA TOUR’s new fall start. The lineup features 15 of the top 25 players in this week’s world rankings. … Stenson’s status bears watching, scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday on a swollen right wrist that flared up while practicing at home in Orlando. The Swede also leads the European Tour’s money list entering its four-event Finals series. … Europeans have claimed the trophy in each of the past three years – Poulter, Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2011) and Italy’s Francesco Molinari (2010).

• SHORT CHIPS: Jimmy Walker, who won the Frys.com Open to kick off the new wraparound PGA TOUR season, is set to become the only man to tee it up in each of the fall’s first four events. … Poulter’s victory last year made him one of seven men to win at least twice in World Golf Championships events. Just two have more – Geoff Ogilvy (3) and Woods (16).

• TELEVISION: Wednesday-Friday, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (GC).

• RADIO: None.

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