Ian Poulter will launch his defence of the WGC-HSBC Champions alongside Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson and American Brandt Snedeker when play gets under way on Thursday at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.
With the inaugural ‘Final Series’ reaching its second stop, just 29 miles south-west of last week’s host-venue Lake Malaren, England’s Poulter will tee off at 0945 local time with the man making a charge towards his maiden Harry Vardon Trophy in Stenson.
Meanwhile, the two men the Swede is attempting to emulate by claiming a transatlantic double, after winning the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup play-off series last month, play together during the first two rounds in Shanghai as Rory McIlroy joins Luke Donald and US PGA Champion Jason Dufner in a star-studded three-ball which gets going at 1035 on Thursday.
The other two Major champions from 2013, Open Champion Phil Mickelson and US Open winner Justin Rose, take to Sheshan’s lush links at 1045 on Thursday with 2011 US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley.
In a pairing which has amassed a colossal 50 European Tour wins between them, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood are joined by Canada’s Graham Delaet (0925), while immediately after Graeme McDowell, who currently resides in second place on The Race to Dubai with three events remaining, plays with big hitting American Dustin Johnson and promising upstart Jordan Spieth.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano booked the final spot in the field with victory at last week’s BMW Masters presented by SRE Group and he will play the first two rounds with fellow recent winner Ryan Moore, who triumphed over compatriot Gary Woodland in a play-off for the weather-affected CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Monday.
That three-ball, which tees off at 0915 on Thursday, is completed by American Scott Piercy.