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Friday, 19 March 2010
HSBC Champions - Previews  (Getty Images)
HSBC Champions - Previews (Getty Images)
World Number One Tiger Woods believes a tried and tested winning mentality can allow him to maintain an impressive success rate in World Golf Championships events as he headlines a star-studded line-up at this week's HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
 
After claiming a 16th WGC title in 30 events played at this level at August's Bridgestone Invitational, Woods will hope the newly-elevated status of the event will inspire him.
 
He finished runner-up in his previous two HSBC Champions appearances in 2005 and 2006.
 
"I am looking forward to the week, I think everyone is," said Woods. "This now becoming a World Golf Championship, I think everyone is very excited about it and excited about what it means in the scope of things, not just in China, but the whole of Asia. As a player, we are looking forward to playing this golf course against such a great field.
 
"I have a simple strategy, and that is to finish lower than anyone else.
 
"It is just one of those things that I have enjoyed playing against such great fields.
 
"That's the whole idea of the World Golf Championships, so it is not only the Majors when we all get together, it's now these World Golf events. It's great to get together with these guys, and for some reason I have had some good results."
 
The strength of the HSBC Champions is underlined by the presence of 20 of the world's top 30 in the strongest field ever assembled in Asia.
 
World Number Nine Sergio Garcia returns to defend the title he won last year after defeating Ryder Cup team-mate Oliver Wilson in a sudden-death play-off, while current Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood headlines 14 of the top 15 in the standings - with The European Tour season set to reach an exciting and potentially lucrative climax over the next three weeks.
 
"I think this tournament was great before, now it's even better. It's taken a step to a higher level," said Garcia, who is currently 11th in The Race to Dubai.
 
"It had some very good players before, now it's probably a little deeper field. When you talk about a World Golf Championships event, it's always a little bit special so it definitely brings something else to the table.
 
"As a defending champion it brings confidence, it brings me good thoughts. It's a course where I have done well, so it's always a positive thing.
 
"There is no doubt you are thinking about defending your title, but if I didn't win last year, I would be standing here trying to win the title again so the main goal is still the same."
 
Ross Fisher, fresh from his win at last week's Volvo World Match Play Championship which elevated him to a career-high 17th in the world, also has found memories of Sheshan International Golf Club after only missing out in a play-off to Phil Mickelson in 2007.
 
Mickelson, along with Woods, returns this year and with 14 of the top 15 in The Race to Dubai taking part, and with just two events remaining after Shanghai, everything is still up for grabs.
 
“The game is in good shape, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired,” said Fisher, who is now fourth in The Race to Dubai.
 
“This week being a WGC makes it more special. This field is very, very strong and obviously for me to have fond memories of a couple of years ago doing so well and having a chance to win, it's just nice to be back in China.
 
“I don't think the course owes me one. It was my fault I didn't win. I should have won the tournament and I didn't. That's plain and simple. I had it in my own hands and unfortunately it wasn't meant to be that year.
 
“That was obviously disappointing, but I'll take a lot of positives and fond memories. I took on Mickelson on Saturday and Sunday and beat him over 36 holes of stroke play.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MICKELSON, PhilUSA18-17
2ELS, ErnieRSA18-16
3MOORE, RyanUSA18-15
4MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
5WATNEY, NickUSA18-13
T6KAYMER, MartinGER18-12
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