The European Tour remains in Asia this week for the Volvo China Open at Genzon GC. A star-studded field has assembled and Australia’s Brett Rumford is defending champion.

Lowdown:
The European Tour remains in Asia this week for the Volvo China Open at Genzon GC. A star-studded field has assembled and Australia’s Brett Rumford is defending champion.

This is the 20th edition of the Volvo China Open and a number of the world’s best players will tee it up. 2013 FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson is on the start sheet, so too Ian Poulter, USPGA champion Jason Dufner and Francesco Molinari.

Since this event was first contested on the European Tour schedule in 2005, there have been some great editions of the competition. In 2006 Paul Casey beat fellow Englishman Oliver Wilson in a playoff, in 2010 Y.E. Yang was an impressive winner before Nicolas Colsaerts put on a display of power hitting to triumph the following year.

Last season Brett Rumford won by four from Mikko Ilonen. The Australian made it two wins in as many weeks after claiming the Ballantine’s Championship seven days earlier.

It’s a new venue for this year’s tournament. The Genzon Golf Club was opened in 1995 then renovated in 2008. The course is the work of renowned Canadian architect Neil Haworth and the club is the first in Asia to use “Platinum” green turf.

15-year-old Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang is also in field this week. Guan became the youngest player to make the cut at the Masters Tournament in 2013, aged 14 years and five months. He played in the Volvo China Open two years ago, setting the record as the youngest player to appear in a European Tour event.

The forecast is for rain on Thursday and over the weekend. Much like last week in Malaysia, there could well be a weather delay or two for the players to contend with.

Venue: Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China
Date: Apr 24-27
Course stats: par 72, 7,145 yards
Purse: €2,320,000 Winner: €389,150
Defending Champion: Brett Rumford (-16)

Player Watch:

Pablo Larrazabal – Tied 8th last week in Malaysia despite being attacked by hornets! The Spaniard is a winner this year already on the European Tour, he was tied 5th in this event last year, albeit over a different course.

Nicolas Colsaerts – A former winner of the China Open, the big-hitting Belgian was tied second last week in Malaysia.

Ricardo Santos – An outside pick but, the Portuguese player is showing signs of good form with a tied 10th in the NH Collection Open then a tied 18th last week. That would have been a good deal better had it not been for a closing round of 74.

Key hole: 17th. This is a fantastic par-5 of 575 yards. Water lurks all down the right side and a tree in the middle of the fairway must be negotiated from the tee. The second shot presents a choice. The very longest hitters may have a pop at the green. Otherwise the lay up is tough as the water bisects the fairway some 100 yards out. The players will have to decide whether to try and carry it or stay short. This one could see some big numbers racked up as the pressure mounts.