The European Tour heads for China this week where Soomin Lee of South Korea will defend his Shenzhen International title at Genzon Golf Club. Bubba Watson is on the start sheet.
It’s the third running of the Shenzhen International at Genzon GC in China this week on the European Tour. A strong field has assembled including the previous two champions, Soomin Lee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Major winner Bubba Watson starts, as do European Tour stars like Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen and last week’s winner Edoardo Molinari.
Bubba Watson will play in this event for a third straight season. The two-time Masters champion finished in a tie for eighth place last year.
“I love the golf course,” said Watson. “The course is a good challenge and the finish is pretty nice. The 17th is a par-five where you can try to make an eagle or a good birdie and on 18th, the tee-shot is so tough, especially when it gets windy, crosswind, and you’re trying to hit over that water.”
The course at Genzon Golf Club, in the Longgang district of Shenzhen was designed by Neil Haworth. He completed a redesign of the original layout and his remodelled creation opened for play in 2009. The course features a number of water hazards and many of the holes are tree-lined. This is a track that will require accuracy and a strategic approach.
This is just the third running of the Shenzhen International, Kiradech Aphibarnrat was the champion in 2015 and, last year, Soomin Lee of South Korea came out on top after a weather delay forced the event to a Monday finish.
The weather forecast this week is rather dodgy again. Rain and some stormy conditions look probable – Expect more delays this time round.
Venue: Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China
Date: April 20-23
Course stats: par 72, 7,145 yards
Defending Champion: Soomin Lee (-16)
Thursday 20 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30am
Friday 21 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30am
Saturday 22 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Sunday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Tommy Fleetwood – He’s been playing some great stuff this year – Winner in Abu Dhabi and a runner-up in the WGC-Mexico Championship. He will rightly be among the favourites this week.
Tommy Fleetwood swing sequence:
Li Haotong – The home player has won in China before; last year’s Volvo China Open. The 21-year-old came close to winning this event as a 19-year-old back in 2015, finishing second to Kiradech Aphibarnrat, so he obviously enjoys the course.
Victor Dubuisson – The talented Frenchman showed good form last week in the Trophee Hassan II, where he finished in a tie for fourth. He’ll look to build on that result in China.
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.