The first round of the WGC HSBC Champions has concluded and US Open winner, Brooks Koepka, shows the way. Read what our man thinks of his chances in his first in-running instalment of the week here...
Francesco Molinari, who won wire-to-wire in 2010, is the only first round leader to win the WGC HSBC Champions since its inception in 2005 but being up with the pace has been pretty crucial here at Sheshan International.
Of the 11 previous winners at this venue (Ian Poulter won the event at Mission Hills in 2012) only one winner has trailed by more than four strokes after round one and nine of the 11 have been inside the top-10 after round one. Phil Mickelson sat five adrift and tied for 13th in 2009 and Bubba Watson won here three years ago having trailed by four in a tie for 19th.
Brooks Koepka leads after an opening eight-under-par 64, nine players are within three of the lead and a further ten are tied for 11th on four-under-par. And if the past results are anything to go by, we can't look past that top-20.
Molly is the only first round leader to go on to win here and Koepka has previously led three times after round one without winning, so they're two negatives to bear in mind, but I still thought he looked a very fair price at 6.00 towards the close of play.
Xander Schauffele disappointed after a bright start (bogeyed three of his last six holes to finish on -1) but my each-way fancy, Tony Finau, has started nicely (sits three off the lead) and my other pre-event fancy, Daniel Berger, is one of those tied for 11th and four adrift so it's not been an awful start.
Given how the stats suggest a fast start is essential, in addition to backing Koepka, I've also added the 2013 winner, Dustin Johnson. The par five eighth hole (which cruelly denied him any chance of victory two years ago when his approach shot ricocheted in to the water off the flag) tripped him up again today but he saved himself from finishing the day with back-to-back bogeys when he made par from 12 feet on the ninth.
This course clearly suits D.J and he's close enough to build on that par save and put in a charge tomorrow. I was happy enough to back him at around the same price he went off at - especially considering the poor start made by market rivals, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm.
WGC HSBC Champions Pre-Event Selections:
Daniel Berger @ 48.00
Xander Schauffele @ 50.00
Brooks Koepka @ 6.00
Dustin Johnson @ 9.00
Sanderson Farms Championship Pre-Event Selection:
Scott Stallings @ 65.00