World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions – Round Two

Bill Haas
2016 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
(3rd of 43 events in the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season)
Shanghai, China               October 27-30   FedExCup points: 550 (winner)          Purse: $9,500,000
Sheshan International Golf Club                                                                            Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,199
Second-round notes – Friday, October 28, 2016
Weather: Cloudy and breezy conditions with a high of 68° with temperatures dropping in the late afternoon to high 50s. Wind was NNW to NNE 10-20 mph with gusts of 25-30 mph.
The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is the third event in the PGA TOUR’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 43 official regular season events and four FedExCup Playoffs events. Over the span of the PGA TOUR season, players vie to become the FedExCup champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the PGA TOUR season, but also excels through the four-event FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the 2017 TOUR Championship.
Second-Round Leaderboard
Player                                     Score                                   Country                Official World Golf Ranking
Hideki Matsuyama            66-65—131 (-13)             JPN                        10
Bill Haas                                  67-67—134 (-10)             USA                       43
Russell Knox                         66-68—134 (-10)             SCO                        20
Francesco Molinari            67-69—136 (-8)               ITA                         40
Richard Bland                       68-68—136 (-8)               ENG                       111
Daniel Berger                       66-70—136 (-8)               USA                       38
Hideki Matsuyama
Two-time PGA TOUR winner Hideki Matsuyama has made 19 birdies in the opening two rounds and holds a three-stroke lead at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions for his first 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR. Matsuyama, who finished a career-best 13th in the FedExCup last season, won the Japan Open on the Japan Golf Tour two weeks ago before finishing runner-up to Justin Thomas at last week’s CIMB Classic in his 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season debut. The Japan Open was Matsuyama’s sixth international win.
With his runner-up finish at the CIMB Classic last week, Matsuyama moved to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, marking the first time in his career that the 24-year-old has cracked the top 10. At No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Matsuyama is one of the eight players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking who are playing at this week’s HSBC Champions.
Matsuyama is looking to become the first Japanese player and first player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships event.
Matsuyama defeated Rickie Fowler in a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year. He is looking for his second top-10 finish in a World Golf Championships event in his 14th start and to improve his best finish at the HSBC Champions (T41-2014).
With his second-round 65, Matsuyama has shot in the 60s in each of his last eight rounds on the PGA TOUR dating back to his second-round 71 at the TOUR Championship. In his last six rounds, Matsuyama is a combined 33-under-par.
Russell Knox
Defending champion and two-time PGA TOUR winner Russell Knox picked up where he left off in China in 2015 and is currently 10-under-par through 36 holes. Last year, the 30-year-old Scotsman carded a 4-under 68 on Sunday and posted 20-under 268, good for a two-stroke win over Kevin Kisner. Knox captured his first-career PGA TOUR victory in his 93rd start at the age of 30 years, 4 months 18 days and earned a three-year exemption on TOUR through the 2018-2019 season.
Knox was able to record his second victory of the year later in the season at the Travelers Championship in August. With his second win of the season, Knox joined Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy as the only multiple winners in 2015-16.
Knox played well in his season debut at last week’s CIMB Classic where he entered the final round tied for second before a final-round 74 resulted in a T10 finish.
Knox would be the first player to defend his title at the HSBC Champions. Tiger Woods is the only player to defend a title at a World Golf Championships event, doing so seven times.
Tiger Woods title defenses in World Golf Championships events – Mexico Championship (2002-2003, 2006-2007), Dell Match Play (2003-2004), Bridgestone Invitational (1999-2000-2001, 2005-2006-2007).
Bill Haas
Playing in the HSBC Champions for the sixth time in his career, Bill Haas is looking to top his previous best finish at the event (10th in 2012) after finishing the second round at 10-under-par and is currently T2.
The six-time winner on the PGA TOUR finished last season without a victory on the PGA TOUR for just the second time in the last seven years. The 2011 FedExCup champion finished the season at No. 46 in the FedExCup standings.
His best finish in a World Golf Championships event (T6) happened twice at the Mexico Championship in 2010 and then again in 2014.
Richard Bland
Playing in not only his first World Golf Championships event, but also the first Official PGA TOUR event of his career, Richard Bland is 8-under-par through two rounds. The Englishman is in the field due to his position on the European Tour Race to Dubai standings and has three top-10 finishes in his last four European Tour events.
Bland, who is not a member of the PGA TOUR, can earn Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season. To do so, he would need to earn more than the player that finished No. 150 on the 2015-16 FedExCup points list (319/Greg Owen). Once a player passes that number, they will be eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2016-17 season in their attempt to earn their 2017-18 TOUR card.
If Bland earns an amount of points that equals or exceeds the amount of points earned by the player finishing in the 125th position on this year’s FedExCup Points List, then he will earn membership for the 2017-18 season. As a point of reference, Seung-Yul Noh finished 125 in FedExCup points with 454 points last year. But it won’t be determined how much Karlberg would need to earn until the full 2016-17 season has been completed.
If Bland, as a nonmember of the PGA TOUR, was to win the HSBC Champions, he would have 60 days to accept full PGA TOUR membership. Jim Benepe is the last player to win a PGA TOUR event in his first start on the PGA TOUR at the 1988 Beatrice Western Open.
Miscellaneous stats
2016 FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy enjoyed a second-round 6-under-par 66 to finish the day at 7-under-par, six shots off the lead. McIlroy has two World Golf Championships victories at the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational and the 2015 Dell Match Play.
Past HSBC Champions are in the field:
Player                                   Year                       Score                     Standing
Sergio Garcia                      2008                       -4                            T18
Francesco Molinari          2010                       -8                            T4
Martin Kaymer                  2011                       -4                           T18
Dustin Johnson                 2013                       +4                          T55
Bubba Watson                  2014                       E                             T35
Russell Knox                       2015                       -10                          T2
Six players representing China are in the field:
Player                                   Score                                     Standing
Wu, Ashun                          -2                                            T26
Dou, Zecheng                    +3                                           T49
Li, Hao Tong                        +1                                           T38
Liang, WC                            +3                                           T49
Zhang, Huilin                      +6                                           T65
Zhang, Xinjun                    -7                                            T7
Quick review of tournament history:
  • The HSBC Champions was created in November 2005 and became an official European Tour and Asian Tour event beginning in 2006. In 2009, the HSBC Champions was granted World Golf Championships status.
  • Champions include
    • 2005 – David Howell
    • 2006 – Y.E. Yang
    • 2007 – Phil Mickelson
    • 2008 – Sergio Garcia
    • 2009 – Phil Mickelson
    • 2010 – Francesco Molinari
    • 2011 – Martin Kaymer
    • 2012 – Ian Poulter
    • 2013 – Dustin Johnson
    • 2014 – Bubba Watson
    • 2015 – Russell Knox
Scoring averages at the par-72 Sheshan International Golf Club
                  Front 9                Back 9           Total                             
R1:            35.719                 36.256           71.975
R2:            36.595                 35.944           72.539
Total:       36.156                 36.102           72.258
Bogey-free rounds:
Round 1: Rickie Fowler (65), Daniel Berger (66), Russell Knox (66), Hideki Matsuyama (66), Francesco Molinari (67), George Coetzee (69), Lee Westwood (69)
Round 2: Martin Kaymer (68)