What You Need To Know

The 58th edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open takes place at the Hong Kong Golf Club, most often known as Fanling. Justin Rose won here last year and the most interesting man in golf — Miguel Angel Jimenez — went back-to-back here in 2012 and 2013 and has won the event a total of four times. Some of golf’s most iconic names have won this event, including Bernhard Langer, José María Olazábal, Greg Norman, Tom Watson, and Pádraig Harrington.

The track is very short, but recent winners have excelled in Driving Distance (DD), which is somewhat bizarre. Greens in Regulation (GIR) has also been a huge part of the winning formula: Since 2009, all seven winners have ranked inside the top 15 in GIR, five have been in the top three, and two have led the field. Also important has been Scrambling (SC): Four of the last five winners finished sixth or better in Scrambling for the week.

Greens in Regulation

High-Priced Tier: $9,000 and Higher

Rafael Cabrera-Bello leads the high-priced tier and ranks sixth overall with a long-term (LT) GIR percentage of 75.5. He ranked inside the top 10 for GIR on both the European and PGA Tours last season. His 69.5 LT Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) is fourth overall, and his 14.3 LT Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament (Adj Bird Avg) is eighth. RCB played the weekend in every tournament he started last season, and has not missed a cut since October of 2015. Cabrera-Bello is a safe play in cash games and has tournament-winning upside at this track.

Non-Euro Tour types may not recognize the name Tommy Fleetwood, but he should be on your radar this weekend: He has finished in the top 15 in eight of his last 10 tournaments, and his 69.5 Recent Adj Rd Score is the third-best mark in the field. Fleetwood has been draining birdies lately with a Recent Adj Bird Avg of 17.7. Fleetwood boasts the second-best LT GIR (73.2 percent) among the high-priced tier and ranks 11th overall. He’s also played well in nearby China: He finished third at the 2015 Shenzen International and second at the 2014 Volvo China Open. Fleetwood is currently the third-rated golfer in the CSURAM88 Pro Model and is a sharp play in all formats.

Mid-Priced Tier: $7,000 to $8,900

David Drysdale ranks seventh overall with a 74.5 LT GIR percentage and has a long history at this course, finishing as high as 18th here last year. Drysadale enters the tournament in excellent form: His Recent Adj Rd Score (70.3) is 11th and his Recent Adj Bird Avg is eighth in the field. Drysdale has missed only one cut in his last 14 events and has been obliterating his salary-based expectations lately (per our Plus/Minus metric).

After going through a late-season slump with four straight missed cuts in September and October, Benjamin Hebert has turned things around lately. Hebert has now made four straight cuts with a 10th-place finish at the Portugal Masters and a fourth-place finish at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship. Hebert ranks 10th overall in LT GIR (73.4 percent), 11th in LT Adj Rd Score (70.9), and 10th in LT Adj Bird Avg (13.8). Golfers in this price range with comparable LT metrics have previously generated a +6.27 Plus/Minus with 58.4 percent Consistency.

Value Tier: $6,900 and Lower

Last season, Frenchman Matthieu Pavon tore up the European Challenge Tour (the Euro Web.com Tour), earning his Euro Tour card thanks to a sixth-place finish on the 2016 Road to Oman. The 24-year-old hasn’t wasted any time, finishing 25th at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship. Pavon’s incredible 86.1 percent LT GIR is the best mark in the field. He’s currently the second-rated player in the CSURAM88 Model and likely to be low-owned in guaranteed prize pools.


High-Priced Tier: $9,000 and Higher

Patrick Reed leads the field with a 62.8 percent LT SC mark and has the best Vegas Odds to Win (14.3 percent). Reed’s 68.9 LT Adj Rd Score is second overall, and his 14.8 LT Adj Bird Avg ranks fifth. The favorite finished third at this course last year, so he’s already proven that he can get around this track. But his recent form is concerning: He has not had a top-10 finish since the Deutsche Bank Championship in September.

Mid-Priced Tier: $7,000 to $8,900

It’s hard to ignore the aforementioned Jimenez’s record at this track: He has four wins, including two in the last four years. Jimenez’s 59.3 percent LT SC is fifth overall, and his LT GIR (69 percent) is 26th: His game is suited for Fanling. He has, however, missed the cut here in the last two years, which could potentially leave his GPP ownership lower than it should be.

Value Tier: $6,900 and Lower

Wei-chih Lu ranks 16th overall with a 55.9 LT SC percentage. His 72.3 LT Adj Rd Score is one of the 40 worst scores in the field, but his history at this track is good. In six starts since 2008, Lu has made the cut five times and has an average finishing position of 32.6. He won the Taiwan Masters in October. With a salary of just $5,800, he could be an intelligent part of a stars-and-scrubs strategy.

Good luck in Hong Kong this week!