Rickie, Scott, Sergio headline WGC-HSBC groups

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Forty of the top 50 in the world will tee it up this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, the first World Golf Championships event of the wraparound season. Here are a few of the featured groups for the first two rounds at Sheshan International: 

8:15 p.m. ET Wednesday (off 10); 9:15 p.m. Thursday: Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, Hideki Matsuyama 

Poulter had top 15s in 2010 and ’11 before a win in '12 and a solo second here last year, but he has just one top-25 finish on any tour since July. Mahan and Matsuyama are already off to good starts in the new season, with Mahan recording a T-3 at the Frys and the Japanese star posting top 10s at the Frys and Shriners before finishing T-21 last week in Malaysia. 

8:25 p.m. ET Wednesday (off 10); 9:25 p.m. Thursday: Billy Horschel, Graeme McDowell, Patrick Reed

Reigning FedEx Cup champ Horschel doesn’t have a top 30 in two early starts this season, while McDowell is coming off a top 20 at the European Tour’s BMW Masters and Ryder Cup star Reed tied for 26th in Malaysia as he continues his overseas journey.

8:35 p.m. ET Wednesday (off 10); 9:35 p.m. Thursday: Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler

Life without Steve Williams continues for Scott, whose recent T-38 at the Japan Open snapped a string of 10 consecutive top 20s worldwide. Garcia tied for second last week in Malaysia. Fowler hasn’t played since the Ryder Cup, but he has eight top 10s in his last nine starts.

9:25 p.m. ET Wednesday (off 10); 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth 

Kaymer won here in 2011 and also has top 10s in 2009 (T-6) and 2013 (T-8). Walker finished T-4 in his most recent event at the Shriners, while Spieth will be making his first start since an encouraging performance at the Ryder Cup. 

9:35 p.m. ET Wednesday (off 10); 8:25 p.m. Thursday: Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose

Rose is arguably the player to beat this week, as he sandwiched T-5 finishes (including last week at the BMW Masters) around his Man of the Match performance at the Ryder Cup. Stenson was a finalist at the Volvo World Match Play, while Watson, off since the Ryder Cup, finished in the top 10 in his debut here a year ago.