The Shenzhen International | Thursday 16 April - Sunday 19 April | Genzon Golf Club
The Masters is over and nothing will live up to the hype of last week but fortunately there is a bit of golf to look forward to and some value to be found all the way in China. This week we head to Genzon Golf Club in Shanghai for the Shenzhen International and a decent field has assembled for what promises to be an interesting event. Bubba Watson has made the decision to participate this week which has focussed a lot of attention on a tournament that may otherwise have slipped under the radar and, unsurprisingly, he is the firm favourite. The fact that his price is so short is a bit of a bonus though as 22/1 or better is available on the rest of the field, making it a tournament full of value if you can find the right player to back.
This is a new tournament hosted on a course that not many in the field will be familiar with, although Genzon did host the Volvo China Open last year so it is not a completely unknown entity. Measuring in at only 7,145 yards, this is a course that favours big hitters who can take advantage of the short layout although distance off the tee is not everything. Rather, the most important stat seems to be GIR% as players who find the dance floor will be able to take advantage of the easy to play greens and make a lot of birdies. There’s no shortage of iron specialists in this field which makes it a challenge to find a winner but with such big prices available the reward is worth taking some risks. I’m going to brass Bubba and look for value elsewhere.
To Win Outright
Bubba Watson 13/2
Jaco van Zyl 22/1
Pablo Larrazabal 22/1
Alex Noren 22/1
Emiliano Grillo 25/1
Nicolas Colsaerts (33/1 a win, 73/10 a place)
I rarely miss an opportunity to back the Muscles from Brussels and this week is no different as the Belgian Bomber heads to a course that should suit his game perfectly. Colsaerts hits the ball as far as anyone in this field and will be one of the players who can overpower the short layout. Given that he is no slouch with his irons he’ll be more than able to take advantage of those booming drives and make a lot of birdies, something that will be key if he’s going to come out on top this week. I’m backing Colsaerts each way.
Pablo Larrazabal (22/1 a win, 48/10 a place)
Pablo Larrazabal is another player I rarely miss the opportunity of backing and this week he looks to offer a lot of value at 22/1. He seems to enjoy playing in China and has posted a number of Top 10s in the past and he’s also one of the few players who have played this course before, a factor that will only benefit him. With his current form and ability to play his irons as well as anyone participating this week, Larrazabal cannot be ignored. Each way is my bet.
Alvaro Quiros (70/1 a win, 15/10 a place)
Alvaro Quiros is one of the few players who have played this venue before and last time out he did not disappoint, finishing a respectable third against relatively strong competition. Granted, this week the going will be a bit tougher with the likes of Bubba Watson in the field but anyone would be exhausted arriving in China after participating in the Masters and I’m sure Bubba will struggle a bit. This bet is risky and the price reflects that but if Quiros comes out firing he could find himself in the Top 5 at least.
TOP BET: Alexander Levy (25/1 a win, 9/2 a place)
Levy won the China Open last year when it was hosted at Genzon and will be looking to repeat that performance and hopefully turn his season around. Having started the year off relatively well and posting some decent finishes, Levy seems to have gone off the boil in recent weeks but don’t let that get you down, nothing inspires a player more than returning to a course where he has won before. Levy is one of the better players in this field and his price reflects that. If he can overcome the mental block he seems to be facing at the moment he’ll be a serious competitor.