By Paul Myers
The fall portion of the golf season is a time of year when most of the big names in the game stay home, rest up, and prepare for the spring. However, there are a few large events that bring the big names out to play, and the WGC-HSBC Champions is one of those events. Contested in Shanghai, China, the HSBC Champions has an impressive list of previous winners which includes Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson, and Bubba Watson, among others.
Great Field in China
As in previous years, the 2015 version of the HSBC Champions featured a great field with some of the biggest names in the game of golf from around the world. Participants included Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, and more. Despite the star power in the field, however, it would be another first-time winner who would take home the trophy. With a total of 20 under par, Russell Knox secured a two-shot win over Kevin Kisner.
Although he had not previously taken home a title on the PGA Tour, Russell Knox is no stranger to success on the golf course. His most-notable achievement prior to winning the HSBC Champions event was shooting a 59 during the Albertsons Boise Open on the Web.com Tour in 2013. Very few professional golfers have posted a 59 at any level of competition, so Knox is sure to remember that achievement for the rest of his career. At 30 years of age, Knox is older than many of the other first-time winners in recent Tour events, but he still has plenty of time to build on an already impressive golf resume.
Mixed Bag for World’s Best
The week in Shanghai was full of ups and downs for the best players in the world. The most notable ‘up’ was an incredible round of 63 that was carded in the third round by Jordan Spieth. That impressive effort pushed Spieth up the leaderboard and into contention, but a final round 70 left him five shots off the eventual winning score set by Knox. Rory McIlroy would finish his week just a single shot behind Spieth in a tie for 11th. McIlroy finished strong with a 66 in the final round, but he could not overcome a 72 in the second round. Among the top players in the field this past weekend, Dustin Johnson and Branden Grace posted the best finishes, as they tied for 5th at -16.
Next weekend the Tour shifts to Mexico, as the OHL Classic at Mayakoba will be played at El Camaleon GC in Playa del Carmen. Charley Hoffman is the defending champion of this event, which represents one of the last chances for players to grab valuable points before the Tour takes a break for the holidays.