Can Alexander Levy become the first man to win this event twice? But records look set to be made one way or another this week.
Volvo China Open preview: the lowdown
The European Tour remains in China this week for the 21st Volvo China Open following on from last week’s Shenzhen International at Genzon Golf Club.
Last year the Volvo China Open was held at Genzon GC. The new venue for the Volvo China Open is Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club, the 11th different course that the event has been played over.
Another thing that has been constantly changing has been the winner – no-man has won the title more than once in its 21 years.
Someone looking to change this will be defending champ Alexander Levy, who is the second highest ranked player in this year’s field. He won last year at Genzon by four strokes over runner up Tommy Fleetwood.
World number 55 Fleetwood is also teeing it up this week in China, and will be the highest-ranked player in this field.
The Tomson Shanghai Pudong course cost $100m to build and opened in 1997. It has some deliberate quirks. The 8th hole is called Dimple and has a pot bunker actually in the green itself. The 4th hole is called Great Wall and has a wall built across the fairway 90 yards out from the green.
This club hosted the Asian Open from 2004 to 2008.
This tournament equals Volvo’s longest continuous sponsorship of a professional event, drawing level with the Volvo Masters (1988-2008).
Venue: Tomson Shanghai Pudong GC, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Date: April 23-26, 2015
Course stats: par 72, 7,315 yards
Defending Champion: Alexander Levy (-19)
Thursday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Friday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Saturday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Sunday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
David Howell – it seemed that our former colleague at Golf Monthly might be turning increasingly towards media work. But recently he has rediscovered some of the form that took him twice into the Ryder Cup team and which has won him five European Tour titles. He was 4th last week in Shenzhen and runner up last month in Jo’burg.
Nicolas Colaserts – his maiden European Tour win was in the 2011 Volvo China Open. He almost got his second the following year in the same event, but finished second. Instead his second Tour win came in the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship. He has yet to win a third, and if he did win this week – useless stat alert – he would become the first player in history to win his first three European Tour events under the same title sponsor.
Guan Tian-lang – two year’s ago the 16-year-old Chinaman made history by becoming the youngest player to make the cut in the US Masters. He aims to make more history as the first Chinaman to win at home on the European Tour. The host nation have produced two winners – Chen Jun (1997) and Zhang Lian-wei (2003), but this was before the tournament became part of the European Tour in 2005.
Key hole: 17th. This 216-yard hole is played over a lake to a three-tier green which is fringed by water and sand. This green is one of four – the others are 2, 8 and 16 – to have been redesigned since the Asian Open was held here.
Weather forecast: Rain in the early part of the week becoming warmer with some sunny weather.