In what was the tournament's debut last year as an official event on the PGA TOUR, Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China, was no match for the 78-man field in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. In fact, Dustin Johnson's winning aggregate of 24-under 264 set the tournament record. Since late 2005, the event has been a fixture on the European Tour's schedule. It joined the ranks of the World Golf Championships in 2009. The only edition not held at Sheshan International was in 2012 when Mission Hills GC in Dongguan, China, hosted.
Last year's scoring average of 70.890 ranked second-lowest all season among par 72s that don't co-host a tournament. The field averaged 12-and-a-half greens in regulation per round and 3.97 on the par 4s, good for a share of fourth-easiest among all courses. Johnson, who will not be competing this week as he remains on sabbatical, led the field in GIR and putts per GIR. He also co-led in par-3 and par-4 scoring.
Sheshan International can stretch 7,261 yards. The par-4 13th hole was extended 26 yards since last year and the par-5 14th was shortened by 31 yards. In a vacuum, because the greens are prepped to top out at just 11.5 on the Stimpmeter, its primary defenses are wind and dry weather. Recent rain has softened the turf and there is a chance for more this coming weekend, but relatively cool air (mid- to upper 60s) combined with cloudy skies are likely to turn the tournament into target practice yet again. Wind comparable to last year's shootout is forecast.
POWER RANKINGS: WGC-HSBC CHAMPIONS
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 1 Justin Rose 2 Sergio Garcia 3 Rickie Fowler 4 Graeme McDowell 5 Adam Scott 6 Jamie Donaldson 7 Lee Westwood 8 Bubba Watson 9 Henrik Stenson 10 Ryan Palmer 11 Hunter Mahan 12 Alexander Levy 13 Martin Kaymer 14 Gary Woodland 15 Charl Schwartzel 16 Keegan Bradley 17 Ian Poulter 18 Marcel Siem 19 John Senden 20 Hideki Matsuyama