Stephan Jaeger torched Deerfield Golf Club during the open qualifier into this week's Sanderson Farms Championship, firing a bogey-free, 8-under-par 32-32=64 to punch his ticket into the main event on Thursday. Joining him are Brian Rowell, Matthew Atkins and Brice Garnett, who all shot 5-under 67 for their rounds.
Jaeger will forever be remembered for the 12-under 58 he shot during round one of the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, but now he's trying to make his name on the big stage. This week will be just his third career start on the PGA TOUR, previously missing the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open as well as the 2013 Puerto Rico Open. Despite his win at the Ellie Mae Classic, he finished the Web.com Tour ranked 28th on the money list which left him three shy of earning a PGA TOUR card. The 27-year-old German is one to watch this week at the Country Club of Jackson because his go-low potential is through the roof.
Henrik Stenson can reel in Race to Dubai leader Danny Willett with a big performance in this week's WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
The Swede (3,130,447) trails the Englishman (3,543,175) by just over 400,000 RTD points but the hefty purse on offer gives him the chance to leapfrog Willett ahead of the three-tournament Final Series which starts in Turkey next week. Stenson has two wins and a second from his last five European Tour starts, the '1' his incredible victory in the Open Championship. This is the Royal Troon hero's 10th start at Sheshan International. He had top 10s in 2007 and 2008 but his best result since the tournament became a WGC event in 2009 is T11 last year. His last three closers in this event read 67, 65, 65 so the Ryder Cup star will hope to make sure they're worth more this time by getting himself in contention over the first three days.
Shane Lowry slots in at 24th on the Race to Dubai ahead of his fifth start at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China this week.
The Irishman has finished 5th (2015) and 10th (2014) on Europe's money list in the last two seasons so is a little short of that so far. Over 50% of his earnings in 2016 came via T2 at the U.S. Open although the manner of that result (he was four clear with 18 to play) certainly knocked him for a while and he missed his next three cuts. Lowry has made something of a recovery with T24-T18-T41 in his latest three starts. At this week's event, he shot 66 on his very first lap of Sheshan International GC in 2009 before finishing T28 but he hasn't beaten that since with T34 in 2014 and T68 last year. He also took part in the 2012 edition at Mission Hills, again starting with a 66 before falling to T32. This week he'll be attempting to win his second WGC event having landed the Bridgestone Invitational last year.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello has played 20 events on Chinese soil but he'll see Sheshan International GC for the first time this week when he pegs it up in the WGC-HSBC Champions.
RCB has contested this event once before in 2012 but that was the year it took place at Mission Hills. He could only manage T46 but he does have some good form in the region having posted five top 15s. That includes T8 at both the 2013 BMW Masters at Lake Malaren and the 2014 China Open at Genzon. But it's his form this year which will entice gamers. The Spaniard was only ranked 111th after finishing T22 at last year's DP World Tour Championship but he's now 31st in the OWGR having peaked at 26th after continuing his impressive season with T5 at the Wyndham Championship. He'll arrive in China on the back of ninth worldwide top 10 of 2016, T10 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
Ricahrd Bland's career season continues with a first start at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
Never higher than 65th on the Race to Dubai since his rookie season in 2002, Bland is up to 25th after seven top 10s this season. Three of those have come in his last four starts and he's connected six top 20s since the beginning of September. Guaranteed a place in the season-ending DP Tour Championship in Dubai, now he'll see how high he can climb in the three big-money events before November's finale. T4 in the British Masters on his last start, this is Bland's third tournament in China in 2016. He's impressed so far, finishing T19 at the Shenzhen International and T3 at the China Open. The latter result is his best finish of the season so far from 26 events.
George Coetzee was T12 on his last start at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2014 and returns to China for another crack this week.
The South African closed with a pair of 69s at Sheshan International GC two years ago to boost his final payout, a big jump from the T74 he posted on debut in 2013. Coetzee is 96th on this year's Race to Dubai so needs to make a serious move to take his spot in the top 60 who qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. He shot four rounds in the 60s at last week's Portugal Masters although the birdie-fest there meant that was only good enough for T31. Prior to that he's had top 25s at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Portugal Masters since the start of September. A look back through Coetzee's form in the country shows a T4 in the 2012 China Open and T6 in the BMW Masters that same season so if does have a big week, several clues have been dropped.
Robert Rock scorched home in a round of 7-under-par 33-31=64 to finish the Portugal Masters T5 on 20-under 264.
The Englishman blitzed the closing stretch of Victoria Clube de Golfe to notch a second top five of the season, after his T3 in the Trophee Hassan II back in early May. He opened his final lap with a bogey-5 at the first, but responded with all out attack, making three birdies in four holes at 2, 3 and 5. He followed that with nine pars and a birdie at No. 12 before launching a superb finish which vaulted him up the leaderboard and into 64th in the Race to Dubai. A birdie-2 at 16 was followed by eagle-3 at 17 and birdie-3 at the last: in other words he played the final three holes in four-under-par. He was never in contention but ended the week just three shots behind the winner Padraig Harrington.
Anders Hansen carded a bogey-free round of 3-under-par 32-36=68 which briefly threatened to be enough to win the Portugal Masters before he finished T3 on 21-under 263.
Twelve months ago the Dane left Victoria Clube de Golfe believing he had played his final round on the European Tour, but he couldn't keep away and made five starts this term. Remarkably, early in the final round, after he had made three birdies in three holes at 4, 5 and 6, it looked like the part-timer might even claim the title. But thereafter he was becalmed and could only add 12 straight pars whilst two of his nearest rivals, the eventual winner Padraig Harrington and Andy Sullivan, passed him. Nonetheless it was an extraordinary effort by the three-time European Tour winner and he played the entire weekend without making bogey. In fact his only errors all week came on the same hole: when he made bogey-5 at the 7th in rounds one and two.