Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: WGC-HSBC Champions

What stands out about Sheshan International GC this week, and how will it impact building PGA lineups?

The PGA Tour returns to American soil this week with the Sanderson Farms Championship, but for DFS purposes, it doesn't matter. We're focused on the WGC-HSBC Champions, which is hosted at Sheshan International GC in Shanghai.

It's, yet again, a no-cut event with some big names, but before we get into the player picks, we must break down the course itself.

What is there to know?

Course and Tournament Overview

Sheshan International is a par 72 that runs 7,261 yards and has hosted an even for four straight seasons, giving us some past results to delve into (phew).

Season Difficulty Rank Course Par Yds Avg Score Avg O/U Par
2017 25 Sheshan International GC 72 7,261 71.904 -0.096
2016 43 Sheshan International GC 72 7,261 70.581 -1.419
2015 12 Sheshan International GC 72 7,261 72.726 0.726
2014 40 Sheshan International GC 72 7,266 70.890 -1.110

As you can see, the course has played up and down, ranking as one of the easiest courses on tour in 2014 and 2016 but also sitting top-12 in difficulty relative to par in 2015 and around average (or par, as you may say) last season.

Scores need to go low to be in contention for the leaderboard, though. Past winners Hideki Matsuyama (-23), Russell Knox (-20), Bubba Watson (-11), and Dustin Johnson (-24) show that you'll probably need a low score to push for the win bonus this week.

Key Stats

You can always look into strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: putting, but the past data says these are the most important stats for Sheshan International.

Key Stats for WGC HSBC at Sheshan International
Bogey Avoidance
Par 4 Scoring
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Ball Striking
Driving Distance

Breaking par is necessary to win at Sheshan, but the past stats show that bogey avoidance correlated stronger to final score than birdie or better rate. Still, both matter, and both should be factored in.

Par 4 scoring also popped up as vital here. The four par 3s are 200-plus yards, and the par 5s are scorable, as well.

As for the distance versus accuracy debate, it's a little of both, so strokes gained: off the tee is something to weight a little heavier than either distance or accuracy, but distance correlated to past success much stronger than accuracy has.

Course History Studs

Only two of the past four winners are in the field this week. Hideki Matsuyama won the most recent event but bookended a 41st in 2014 with two withdrawals.

Dustin Johnson, the other winner (in 2013), was also 5th in 2015 and 35th in 2016.

Ross Fisher has two top-six finishes in his two tries (sixth last year and third the year prior). Daniel Berger was 2nd last year and 11th in 2015.

Marc Leishman didn't play this course last season but was 11th and 9th the two years prior. Matthew Fitzpatrick was 7th in 2015 and 16th in 2016. Thorbjorn Olesen finished 6th in 2014 and 19th in 2015.

Francesco Molinari was 21st back in 2013 and 6th last year in his two tries. Henrik Stenson played the course four times and has improved his finish each year: 31st, 24th, 11th, 2nd.

Three other golfers played here all four years: Haotong Li, Ashun Wu, and Wenchong Liang. They have just one top-10 between them: Haotong Li's seventh-place finish in 2015.