Halloween comes early

The Tour heads to the final stop of the Asian Swing, the WGC-HSBC Champions. The no cut, hefty purse event attracts a star-laden field with 18 of the top 25 players in the world in attendance.

One of the best aspects of the HSBC is the ridiculous photo shoots staged at the beginning of the week with the event's star players. This year's didn't disappoint.

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Last year

Hideki Matsuyama ran away with the tournament shooting a final round 66 to win by seven shots. Matsuyama played the final 45 holes without a bogey and the win was a part of a six event stretch where the Japanese star won four times.

The course

The HSBC Champions is hosted at Sheshan International GC's West course. The long time host course was designed by Nelson & Haworth, a firm who has worked extensively in Southeast Asia. Sheshan is littered with water hazards and poorly placed bunkers. There is little strategy to the course besides hitting the ball straight due to the tight fairways and unimaginative design.

Storylines

Hideki and DJ
Last season's WGC events were swept by these two players. Matsuyama won the HSBC and the Bridgestone while Johnson captured the Mexico Championship and the Match Play. This week, they are the two highest ranked players in the field so that trend could continue.

The sleeping giant
There will be seven Chinese players in the field, headlined by world’s 66th ranked player, Haotong Li. The world's largest country is slowly becoming more relevant in the golf world. Beyond Li, Xinjun Zhang and Marty Dou earned their 2017-2018 PGA Tour cards through stellar performances the Web.com Tour in 2016.

In Mississippi

The rest of the PGA Tour is in Jackson, MS for the Sanderson Farms Championship. Last year, Cody Gribble won at the Country Club of Jackson and is back to defend his title. The event is a big one for PGA Tour rookies and veterans with iffy playing status. A strong finish will aid their priority ranking on the Tour and give them the ability to choose where they play in the early part of the season. Sanderson has been a haven for rookies, with the past three editions being won by first year players.

Paulie's Picks

Paulie put in double time this week with the dual event. In China he has zeroed in on players who play the par 5s well. Meanwhile, in Mississippi he is looking at a couple of veteran players flying under the radar. Check out his picks here.

An architecture panel

For San Francisco residents, I will be in the Bay area next week to moderate an architecture panel with Jay Blasi, Bo Links and Geoff Shackelford. The event will be held on Wednesday 11/1 at State Apparel in downtown San Francisco and is free to attend. For more information about the event and to get your tickets, check out the event page here.

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A pod appearance

I joined Rod Morri and Adrian Logue as a guest on the iSeekGolf Podcast. We talked golf course architecture, professional golf and the fried egg. Listen to the podcast on their website here.

A bittersweet win for Meyer

University of Illinois' Dylan Meyer won his first event of the 2017-2018 season at the Tavistock Cup. Meyer shot rounds of 66-67-72 to top Cal star Collin Morrikawa by two shots. Unfortunately, Meyer and his Illini team struggled down the stretch, playing the 17th hole 6-over par. The late struggles allowed Cal to grab the team title by one shot over Illinois and Florida. Full scores

Quick hooks

Tiger's return speculation continues after he posts a video of a stinger.

Never change Bryson.

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