Fact Pack: WGC-HSBC Champions


With the conclusion of the 2012 Fall Series still a week away, the final WGC event of the year takes place in Shenzhen, China. Mission Hills Golf Club will host 78 of the world's best this week for the WGC-HSBC Champions, an event held in Shanghai for each of the last six years. Martin Kaymer returns to defend his title, where he will encounter a course layout with five par-5s which should favor the longest - and most aggressive - players in this week's field. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• The last time Mission Hills GC hosted a major event, Francesco Molinari teamed with his brother Edoardo to win the 2009 Omega World Cup for his native Italy. This year, the younger Molinari has had a solid season on the European Tour, featuring a win in Spain along with two other runner-up finishes. A winner of this event when it was in Shanghai two years ago, he currently ranks fourth on the European circuit in GIR percentage and eighth in stroke average.

Gaganjeet Bhullar fired a bogey-free 67 Sunday to finish T-10 at the CIMB Classic, his third top-10 finish in his last five Asian Tour starts. The 24-year-old Indian continues to pursue a chance to play full-time on the PGA Tour; he leads the Asian Tour this year in fairways hit, while ranking fourth in stroke average and seventh in GIR percentage.

• The layout this week at the Olazabal Course features five par-5s, as well as five par-3s in comprising its par-72 layout. This should bode well for Keegan Bradley, who currently leads the PGA Tour in the all-around ranking. Bradley ranks second on Tour in par-3 performance, while also ranking sixth on Tour in par-5 performance this year.

Lee Westwood was a runner-up in this event twice in his last four starts when it was held at Shenshan GC in Shanghai. Formerly the top-ranked player in the world, Westwood ranks third this year on the PGA Tour in ball-striking and fifth in the all-around ranking. The Englishman has now been inside the top 15 in four of his last five starts, including a T-14 finish at the BMW Masters last week.

An aggressive gameplan in Malaysia netted Robert Garrigus his third top-10 finish in his last four starts, as he finished T-2 behind Nick Watney at the CIMB Classic. His length off the tee will again be an asset in China, but his play on the shorter holes may also prove beneficial. Garrigus has birdied par-3 holes 18.4% of the time this year, the highest average on Tour in 2012.

• With his T-6 finish at the BMW Masters, George Coetzee recorded his third top-6 finish in as many starts on the European Tour. The South African also finished T-5 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and T-6 at the Portugal Masters earlier this month, and now ranks 15th on the European Tour in both stroke average and putts per GIR.