The calendar may read 2017, but the 2018 PGA Tour season is now in full swing. Also underway is the tour’s annual international excursion, which takes us to China for the final week of October after stops in Malaysia and South Korea earlier this month.
Waiting in Shanghai is the formidable Sheshan Golf Club, a 7,266-yard course originally designed by Nelson and Haworth. The field at Sheshan features the top players from a number of different organizations around the world, including the PGA, European, Asian, Japan, Australasia and Sunshine tours.
Hideki Matsuyama (11/1) enters the week as the defending champion and will look to become the first back-to-back winner in tournament history. Matsuyama became the first-ever Asian WGC champion with that 2016 victory.
Below, we take a wider look at five players who look like good picks this week in our PGA Pick ‘Em Contest.
Dustin Johnson (8/1): The No. 1 player in the world arrives in Shanghai with the best odds of anyone in the field. This will be Johnson’s first start of the season as he took a few weeks off after a 17th-place finish in last month’s TOUR Championship.
DJ cruised to a win here in 2014, and he should be in contention again against a lighter-than-usual field. The only thing that may hold him back is some early-round rust on Thursday, but the same could be said for many of the players in this tournament.
Jason Day (18/1): Day has posted three straight top 20s and went 71-71 over the weekend at the CJ Cup. His stroke appears to be peaking at the right time and his game fits Sheshan nicely.
The Aussie is definitely one of the favorites that you should keep your eye on this week.
Francesco Molinari (25/1): If anyone is due for a win, Molinari fits the bill.
He hasn’t lifted a trophy in over 13 months, but some strong play as of late makes him a trendy pick this week. In his last two starts, the Italian went 17-under at the Italian Open and finished 12th at the BMW Championship.
Molinari also won here in 2010 and provides plenty of value this time around at 25/1.
Pat Perez (28/1): Perez enters as one of the hottest players in the field, having posted consecutive top-5 finishes (one victory) and three top 10s in his last five starts.
The hot start to the season has him ranked first in the FedEx Cup standings heading into Shanghai. And if all goes according to plan, he’ll be asking for updates on the USC-Arizona State game during Sunday’s final round.
Peter Uihlein (80/1): Some nice value here on Uihlein at 80/1. The son of golf royalty, Uihlein has been letting his play speak for itself as of late.
He is coming off a top-10 finish at the CIMB Classic, part of a stretch with two top 10s (one victory) in his last five starts. Another top-10 placement for the Oklahoma State product wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.