The golf world will have eyes on China this week and the beautiful Sheshan International Golf Club, a club that has earned a tremendous amount of praise in its brief history. Set amongst gingko trees that are estimated to be over 1,000 years old, designers manipulated over 2 million cubic yards of earth to create elevation changes which compliment the natural beauty of the land. Tiger Woods once stated that Sheshan International is, in his opinion, “the crowning jewel of all of Asian golf”.
As it is a World Golf Championship, most of golf’s biggest names will be in attendance, including Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. It’s the beginning of what should be a very interesting storyline this season as McIlroy appears to be healthy and Spieth is looking to prove that his performance last year will be the norm for his career moving forward. And now a look at who to watch for this week in China.
Rory McIlroy - Coming off a T6 finish last week as he began his season in Turkey at the Turkish Airlines Open. Is finally healthy meaning he is primed for a terrific season. He’s looking to get that number one spot back, and wants it as soon as possible.
Jordan Spieth - Playing his first event of the season. You have to think that a solid start to the season is important to him as he seeks to pick up where he left off at the end of the playoffs.
Hideki Matsuyama - It is amazing to me that this young man has not won more events on Tour. He is on the brink of breaking through for another win after a 5th place finish last week. Once this breakthrough happens, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the floodgates open for him.
Henrik Stenson - Surprising performance last week at CIMB Classic (T47) considering the playoffs he just came off. I expect a good week out of him.
Bubba Watson - First Tour event in a month. Finished last season with four top-five finishes in his last seven events.
Adam Scott - Fantastic start to his season with a runner-up finish last week in Malaysia. With rounds of 68-66-66-63 you know he’s coming into this week feeling great about his game.
Kevin Na - Coming off a terrific season last year, but is on pace to top it after playing in all three events so far this year, and finishing 2nd, T2, T3. Has always had a hard time finishing off tournaments, but he certainly seems to be getting closer.
Branden Grace - Lived in the top-10 last week in Malaysia, adding fuel to the argument that it is just a matter of time before he begins winning a ton of events on the U.S. Tour.
Rickie Fowler - Got off to a shaky start a couple weeks ago at the Shriners, but began showing glimpses of his regular self through the weekend. With the rust hopefully off, we should be able to enjoy seeing him perform at the level we have become accustomed to since he began working with Butch Harmon a couple years ago.
Justin Thomas - It was just a matter of time, but he is now officially a Tour winner after claiming the CIMB crown last week. With the way he has consistently performed over the past 8 months, it will be fun to see if he can ride this wave of confidence. Was 26 under par last week and was atop a leaderboard that contained the names Scott, Matsuyama and Na.
Ian Poulter - Won this event in 2012 at Mission Hills GC, and has followed up his win with 2nd & T6 finishes at Sheshan International GC. His track record in World Golf Championships is nothing to sneeze at, as he also won the 2010 Accenture Match Play. Coming off a T16 finish last week in Turkey.
Cameron Smith - Continuing to find his game out on Tour, and looks to be one who will be making some noise for a while. Showed signs that his game is in fairly good shape last week.
Brandon De Jonge - Three rounds in the sixties last week. An underrated player who can contend in any event.
And now a look at my DraftKings picks for this week.
Rory McIlroy - $12,300
Lee Westwood - $8,100
Kevin Kisner - $7,300
Harris English - $7,200
David Lingmerth - $7,000
Chris Kirk - $6,900
Bubba Watson - $10,500
Kevin Na - $9,500
Danny Willett - $8,000
Danny Lee - $7,700
Tommy Fleetwood - $7,100
Robert Streb - $7,100
I’m taking Rory and Bubba as my big guns this week. After Rory’s high finish in Turkey, combined with the fact that Spieth is in the field, I think he’s going to come out strong. Bubba is the defending champ and has been playing incredible golf over the last few months. One individual who I took despite a fairly high price tag was Westwood. I wouldn’t usually spend this much on him, but he too is coming off a solid week in Turkey. A couple gems are Kirk and Lee, as both are recent Presidents Cup contenders who can compete on the big stage. I’m continuing my trend of trying to get lucky with middle draft picks rather than going too top heavy with my selections.
About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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