Expert Picks: WGC-HSBC Champions


This week the focus of the fantasy golf world remains overseas, as the WGC-HSBC Champions takes the spotlight from Shenzhen, China. Martin Kaymer returns as defending champion, having won last year's event in Shanghai. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Lee Westwood: He finished runner-up last year in China and other than a particularly pedestrian week at the Tour Championship (30th out of 30 players), he is finishing the season strong, with top-15 finishes in four of his last five starts.

Group 2: Nicolas Colsaerts: The 'Muscles from Brussels' proved at the Ryder Cup that he is ready to take the next step on the global stage, and the layout at the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills is perfect for the bomber.

Group 3: Greg Chalmers: Australian has been a model of consistency this season, having missed one cut in his last 14 starts. This is the same time that he went on a tear last year, winning back-to-back starts in Australia.

Group 4: Thongchai Jaidee: He finished T-16 against a world-class field last week at the BMW Masters and has played solidly in the past at the HSBC (T-19 in 2009, T-29 in 2011).

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Luke Donald: Tends to play some of his best golf late in the year, as evidenced by last week's third-place finish in Shanghai.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: Still riding a high after the Ryder Cup, claiming solo fourth last week.

Group 3: Shane Lowry: Streaky player who is hot right now, having just surpassed Padraig Harrington as Ireland's top-ranked player for the first time.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Bargain hunters know to look for deals and for some reason, Olesen was a bargain at the bottom of this group.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: In the absence of a clear-cut choice, I'm sticking with one of the most consistently strong. Finished T-4 in a OneAsia event in China three weeks ago, and then backed it up with a T-6 at the BMW Masters in Shanghai. He also owns the length to navigate the five par-5s at the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills. 

Group 2: Ian Poulter: Despite his cachet, he's a sneaky investment thanks to a litany of top-10 finishes in stroke play events over the past year. He's won before in China (2010 Hong Kong Open) and represented England in all three World Cups (2007-2009) contested on this week's course.

Group 3: Danny Willett: Long off the tee, precise with his irons and among the leaders on the European Tour in scoring. Since breaking through for his first victory in June, he's gone on to record a trio of top-six finishes, all in his last five starts.

Group 4: Thongchai Jaidee: Like Ian Poulter, the Thai represented his country in the World Cup at Mission Hills' Olazabal Course from 2007-2009. More recently, he's posted three straight top-20s, including a T-16 finish at last week's BMW Masters.