Damien McGrane produced one of the rounds of the season to win last year’s Volvo China Open at the Beijing CBD International GC. The Irishman battled through horrific conditions to record a closing 73 when the majority of the field were struggling to break 80. He won the event by nine clear shots.
Although many of the top Europeans will remain in the US, or are taking a week off following the Masters, McGrane will be back to defend his title this time round. He’ll face stiff competition from a field that includes Colin Montgomerie, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Nick Dougherty.
The course at Beijing CBD International was designed by IMG Golf Design and opened for play in 2005. It’s a relatively flat layout with a number of tree-lined holes and an abundance of water to negotiate.
There’s an added bonus for the winner this week. The man who takes the title will gain an invitation to the Volvo World Matchplay to be held in Spain later this year. That means a guaranteed payout of $155,000.

Venue: Beijing CBD International GC, Beijing, China
Date: April 16-19
Course stats: par 72, 7,321 yards
Purse: €1,655,000 Winner: €275,813
Defending champion: Damien McGrane (-10)

TV coverage:
Friday 17th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am
Saturday 18th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am
Sunday 19th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am

Player watch:

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – The Spaniard lost out in a playoff for the Open de Andalucia and will be looking to go one better this week.
Liang Wen-chong – China’s most successful golf professional will carry the weight of his country’s expectations this week. He’d love to win on home soil.
Nick Dougherty – The Englishman hasn’t enjoyed the greatest season so far in 2009. He’ll be hoping to kick-start his year with victory here.

Key hole: 18th – A 564 yard par-5 that’ll be reachable in two depending on the conditions. Water lurks all up the right hand side of the hole and will be a factor for both drive and approach.

Skills required:
Staying dry. There are only two holes on the entire course where water doesn’t come into play. The winner will adopt a tactical approach to stay out of the H2O.