DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays for The WGC HSBC Champions
As always, our goal is for PlayPicks to be your first and last stop for an all-around PGA DFS news source each week … and for free! Give me a follow at @DFSJimmie if you haven’t already. And while you’re at it, go ahead and like PlayPicks on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Now, back to your regularly scheduled PGA breakdown.
Sheshan International rests on China’s eastern coast, west of Shanghai. A dynamic and exclusive resort-style course, Sheshan is a very playable 7,200-yard, par 72 with Bentgrass greens and Bermuda mixed with Paspalum rough. That’s a perfect combination for gnarly lies that are sure to make any approaches from the rough exceedingly difficult. Then, elevation changes are prevalent throughout the layout. Golfers will contend with plenty of trees and water when missing the fairways.
How it plays
The scoring and difficulty will certainly depend on the weather and conditions at Sheshan. This course can play extremely easy or extremely difficult depending on the amount of moisture and wind. It’s a truly dynamic course. The course is especially susceptible to wind given the elevation changes.
Throughout the years, we have seen a variety of game styles prevail at Sheshan — from short knockers who hit a lot of fairways to bombers who cover long carry bunkers. Several constants remain regardless of conditions, most notably accuracy off the tee. Finding the fairway is of the utmost importance at Sheshan given the troublesome blend of grasses that make up the roughs here. And snuggling one close from the rough is almost impossible.
As you will see below, the course averages under par scoring but can quickly turn into a tough test if conditions change. Last year, we saw the tougher side with the winner only getting to 14 under. Previous years have yielded 20+ under par efforts.
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee / Fairways Gained
- Par 4 Scoring
- Par 5 Scoring
- Birdie or Better
- Bogey Avoidance
PGA DFS players
Note: This is another no-cut tourney on the other side of the world, so lock will be on Wednesday night. Be sure to have your lineups set early. Everyone is going to play four rounds this week.
Top Tier: $11.5K – $9.6K
Dustin Johnson ($11.5K)
We haven’t seen the former world No. 1 in a while. When we did, the talk was more about his off-the-course interests than his golf abilities. Regardless, he cruised to a third-place finish at the Tour Championship before supposedly getting into an altercation with Brooks at the Ryder Cup. All of the rumors aside, DJ really seems to like this course, and I’m betting he is ready to focus on his game a bit more this season than last (just a hunch). There’s no better way to start than with a solid showing in his first event of the season. He has posted a 1/5/35/2 in his last four attempts at Sheshan. You could get an ownership discount on DJ this week at a track he likes.
Brooks Koepka ($11K)
Fresh off his season-opening win and newly acquired throne atop the world golf rankings, Brooks is oozing confidence. Brooks worked hard to get to the top, and I’m betting with the big names about this week, he will be focused on keeping that crown with another solid outing this week. Every part of his game is solid: he has experience on this course, including a runner-up finish last year and is one of several golfers in the field that didn’t have to travel across the globe this week just to get to the course. Get some exposure if you are playing multiple lineups.
Rory McIlroy ($10.7K)
Rory is making his season debut this week and will likely garner plenty of attention at his bargain price tag. He’s an elite player with a stellar track record at this course. Keep an eye on his FanShare tags as the week wears on. The course itself fits Rory nicely off the tee (same as DJ and Brooks above). Long carries are the only way to get aggressive on this course, and no one carries it like Rory. Expect to see a lot of drivers and plenty of chances taken by Rory this week. He’s posted 4/11/6 place finishes here. Near the end of last season, he showed signs of getting back to the Rory of old.
Others to consider: Tony Finau, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama
Mid Tier: $9.5K – $7.9K
Paul Casey ($9.2K)
Paul Casey has an ageless game at this point. He finds fairways and greens with precision and lacks only when it comes to converting putts. I am hoping the putting gets a bit of a boost this week on his much-preferred of Bent. Having posted top 20s and 10s here in his last four outings, Casey could go a bit under-tagged on Fanshare this week as he doesn’t have the flash most DFS players will be looking for in no-cut events. It’s fine by me: Casey has plenty of scoring upside no matter how the course plays this week and is clearly in good form coming off his 13th place last week. He ranks third in my overall model this week.
Rafa Cabrera Bello ($8.9K)
The sunglass-wearing Spainard is looking to keep his mojo going this week in China after snagging a third-place finish last week. His elite and consistent ball striking should keep Rafa in the mix all week while his erratic putting should get a bit of a boost given the Bentgrass. Rafa has put together some good results at this track in the past as well, with a 19th in 2016 and a top-five showing last year. RCB has the game to compete at the top of this field, possibly even take it down.
Ian Poulter ($8.6K)
I’m going right back to “Poults” after he carried us through last week in good form. I’d cite all the same reasons too: a short enough course for him to contend on that also places a premium on finding fairways and ball striking; it requires some aggressive play to score but experience enough to play smart on funky lies (especially if conditions deteriorate). Fire up Poulter again this week as he ranks fifth in my model.
Others to consider: Tyrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Cantlay, An Byeong-hun, Matthew Fitzpatrick
Value Tier: $7.8K and Lower
Lucas Bjerregaard ($7.8K)
Here is my gut play of the week: the Danish native is making his first start at the HSBC fresh off a victory just a few weeks back. You won’t find any stat angles or course history to suggest playing him in models this week. Yet savvy punters have had an eye on Lucas for a while, and he could get his fair share of tags on Fanshare. The reason I am going to play him centers mostly around his recent results on the Euro Tour. In his last six events, he has posted five top 10s, including an outright win. This kid cut his teeth on mini-tours all around the world and won at every level of competition. I see plenty of opportunity for Lucas to make his name known on one of golf’s bigger stages.
Brandt Snedeker ($7.6K)
Brandt surged into the mix during the first event of the season at the Safeway and, since losing in a playoff, has really struggled to find his game again. I am betting this is the week he gets a little bit of that back. Snedeker hasn’t played this track since 2014, but that year, he came in 10th. Much like Poulter above, Sneds has the ball-striking chops to compete with the best but lacks the distance on certain courses to contend. This week, the length and elevation changes should be to his benefit. He rates out as sixth in my overall model this week.
C.T. Pan ($7K)
Two weeks ago, Pan was super chalky but finished only 30th. Last week, plenty of people boarded the Pan train while I stayed away for another mediocre finish of 23rd. This week though, I am getting back on board just as everyone else jumps off. Rating out 10th overall in my model and at his bargain price tag, Pan should fit this track nicely. He’s steady off the tee, which should give him plenty of clean looks from the fairway to attack Sheshan.
Thomas Pieters ($7K)
Big-time talent and big-time temper come to mind when talking about Pieters. The guy has every shot in the book and has shown up in some Majors the past few years but really seems to falter when everyone predicts he will do well. Thus, he’s a polarizing player who will likely find some big wins throughout his career if he can harness his emotions. Pieters can provide some serious scoring upside with his off-the-tee game, but be prepared for him to explode if you roster him.
Others to consider: Julian Suri, Andrew Putnam, Chris Wood, Oliver Bekker, Brendan Grace, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
*Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.