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2014 WGC-HSBC Champions (The 5th of 43 events in the 2014-2015 PGA TOUR Season), Shanghai, China November 3-9, 2014 FedExCup Points: 550 (winner) Purse: $8,500,000; Sheshan International Golf Club, Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,266

First-Round Notes – Thursday, November 6, 2014

First-Round Leaderboard

Player/ Score/ Official World Golf Ranking

Graeme McDowell 67 (-5) 17 (Pictured by Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler 69 (-3) 10
Brandt Snedeker 69 (-3) 49
Chris Kirk 69 (-3) 21
Tommy Fleetwood 69 (-3) 63
Tim Clark 69 (-3) 103
Martin Kaymer 69 (-3) 13

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell’s 5-under-par 67 in the first round marks his fifth consecutive round under par at Sheshan International Golf Club. McDowell has recorded four straight top-10 finishes in World Golf Championship events.

In 2013 McDowell finished solo third with a 268 20-under-par total for the week.

Through five rounds at Sheshan International GC McDowell’s scoring average is 66.60.

Last season McDowell missed just one cut and recorded a career-best eight top-10s in 17 starts and finished 56th in the final FedExCup standings. His last win came at the 2013 RBC Heritage in a playoff over Webb Simpson.

Coming into this week McDowell has led/co-led four times after the first round of a PGA TOUR most recently at the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship.

McDowell’s first-round 67 is the lowest opening-round score in relation to par on TOUR since his 5-under 67 at THE PLAYERS Championship in 2011.

McDowell’s lone professional victory in Asia came at in 2008 at The Championship at Laguna National previously known as the Ballatine Championship on the European Tour at Pinx Golf Club on the island of Jeju in South Korea.

Rickie Fowler

Fowler’s opening 3-under 69 is his lowest first-round score at the HSBC Champions in three starts.

In 2012 Fowler captured his lone victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff over Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points.

Fowler’s first professional win came at OneAsia Tour’s Kolon Korea Open in 2011.

Brandt Snedeker

Making his third appearance at the HSBC Champions Brandt Snedeker recorded his lowest round at Sheshan International on Thursday. His 3-under-par in the first round leaves him two-strokes off the lead.

Last season Snedeker made 20 of 25 cuts and posted three top 10s. The 2012 FedExCup Champion failed to advance past the second round of the Playoffs for the first time since they began in 2007.

Snedeker, a six-time TOUR winner, has not won on TOUR since the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.

Chris Kirk

Chris Kirk is making his fourth appearance in a World Golf Championship event this week in Shanghai. In two stroke-play World Golf Championship events Kirk has placed T40 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and T41 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Kirk is coming off his best season on the PGA TOUR. During the 2013-14 season, Kirk posted 12 top-25 finishes including two wins (The McGladrey Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship) and finished 2nd in the final FedExCup standings.

In his first start of the 2014-15 season at The McGladrey Classic, Kirk finished T4 at his hometown event.

Tim Clark

Tim Clark’s 3-under 69 in the opening round in Shanghai marks the third time in four events Clark has posted a sub 70 score in the opening round. Last season Clark only recorded six rounds under 70 in 26 events. His first-round scoring average last season was 71.46 compared to 69.5 through Thursday’s round.

Clark returned to the winner’s circle in 2014 at the RBC Canadian Open where he came from behind to beat Jim Furyk by one-stroke with a final-round 65. Clark finished the season 54th in the final standings of the FedExCup.

Clark’s first victory on TOUR came in 2010 at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Miscellaneous stats

Kevin Stadler (wrist) Graham DeLaet (back) withdrew during the first round.

Six players representing China are in the field:

Player Score Place
Zhang Lianwei 73 (+1) T37
Ashun Wu 74 (+2) T42
Hao-tong Li 75 (+3) T56
Wen-chong Liang 75 (+3) T56
Ze-cheng Dou 76 (+4) T63
Mu Hu 78 (+6) T71

Past HSBC Champions are in the field:

Player Year Score Place
Sergio Garcia 2008 74 (+2) T42
Martin Kaymer 2011 69 (-3) T2
Ian Poulter 2012 70 (-2) T8

Two major championship winners from 2014 are in the field:

Player Major Score Place
Bubba Watson U.S. Masters 71 (-1) T19
Martin Kaymer U.S. Open 69 (-3) T2

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. Event champions during that timeframe: 2005 – David Howell; 2006 – Y.E. Yang; 2007 – Phil Mickelson; 2008 – Sergio Garcia.

In 2009, the HSBC Champions was granted World Golf Championships status but was an unofficial event on the PGA TOUR. Phil Mickelson’s win in 2009 is not considered an official PGA TOUR victory.

Beginning in 2010, the HSBC Champions counted as an official PGA TOUR victory and offered a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR—provided the tournament was won by a PGA TOUR member. Prize money, however, did not count toward the official PGA TOUR money list, even in a PGA TOUR member won the tournament. Tournament winners during this timeframe include: 2010 Francesco Molinari (unofficial PGA TOUR win); 2011 – Martin Kaymer (unofficial PGA TOUR win); 2012 – Ian Poulter (official PGA TOUR win).

On the final day of the 2012 event, HSBC announced renewal of its title sponsorship through 2015, along with the announcement that the event would become a part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup. Dustin Johnson became the first champion to be awarded official money, FedExCup points (550), and a three-year exemption for his victory in 2013.

Source: PGA TOUR

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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