Molinari will be playing in his seventh HSBC Champions, trying to dethrone Matsuyama who defends his title Oct. 23-29 when the tournament returns to the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.
The top players in the game will gather in China for one of the most important tournaments of the fall, one that can set the tone for the 2017-18 season - just like it did for Matsuyama. This year, the HSBC Champions will be the third of three Asian events in a row, following the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the first-year US$9.25 million CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea.
The HSBC Champions victory was significant in many ways for Matsuyama. In addition to a three-year PGA TOUR exemption, Official World Golf Ranking points and prize money, he became the first player from Japan - the first from Asia, actually - to win a WGC event. It tied Matsuyama with Shigeki Maruyama, one of his boyhood heroes, for most PGA TOUR wins by a Japanese player, a mark that Matsuyama has since broken.
“To win the HSBC was probably my biggest achievement,” Matsuyama said. “I was the first Asian to win that event, and to me, that was a big deal.”
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