The European Tour remains in Asia this week for the Volvo China Open. Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium is the defending champion and a strong field has assembled.
This will be the ninth running of the Volvo China Open on the European Tour. The event was first contested on the circuit at Shanghai Silport Golf Club in 2005 and was won by Stephen Dodd of Wales. Since then, the tournament has visited six different courses and it has produced quality champions, including Paul Casey, Jeev Milkha Singh and Y.E. Yang.
Last year at Luxehills International Country Club, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium produced four rounds in the 60s to post an impressive 72-hole total of 24-under-par. He won by four strokes.
Colsaerts is back to defend the title at Binhai but he’ll face stiff competition from a number of the world’s best players. Ian Poulter, Peter Hanson and Paul Casey will tee it up, as will Paul Lawrie and Colin Montgomerie.
“This is the first time I have defended a title so I am looking forward to it very much,” Colsaerts said. “Obviously the Volvo China Open moves course every year so it won’t have the same feeling as returning to the same course, but I am glad to be going back. It changed a lot for me. I got into tournaments I haven’t played before, I got into Majors and it made me realise that I could mix it with some of the big boys ,so it was a big win for me and great for my confidence. Winning the Volvo China Open then led to the Volvo World Match Play where I played so well, and it kind of led on from there. After ten years of trying to win, I finally did it and it really helped me to realise how could I could be. It set me on a whole new career path, and really helped me fulfil a lot of the potential I knew I had.”
In the north-eastern city of Tianjin, Binhai Lake Golf Club was designed by Pete Dye. It’s a long and challenging track that should test the players. Expect the winning score to be somewhat nearer to par than last year.
Venue: Binhai Lake GC, Tianjin, China
Date: Apr 19-22
Course stats: par 72, 7,667 yards
Purse: €2,300,000 Winner: €398,594
Defending Champion: Nicolas Colsaerts (-24)
Thursday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 7am
Friday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 7am
Saturday 21 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6am
Sunday 22 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6am
Peter Hanson – The Swede played brilliantly at the US Masters and will look to follow the example of another man who performed well at Augusta – Louis Oosthuizen. The South African was runner-up in the year’s first Major then won in Malaysia the very next week. Hanson will aim to carry his Major form through into this event.
Ian Poulter – He looks to be coming back into form – seventh place at the Masters. He’s one of the most determined competitors in world golf and, if he can get into contention, he’ll pose a threat.
Paul Casey – The Englishman is still on the comeback trail after injuring his shoulder during the winter. He played a solid round of 68 in last weekend’s Bahrain Invitational and some excellent golf in that event suggests he might be on the road back to his best.
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