The Volvo China Open 2017 Preview


Our golf scribe previews this week's European Tour event, the Volvo China Open.

The European Tour stays in China this week as a fairly strong field lines up for the Volvo China Open. A co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour, this will be the second edition hosted at Topwin. Last year seems to suggest that this should be a birdie fest that will be advantageous to those with some length off the tee. Bernd Wiesberger aims to go back-to-back in China while the defending champion- Chinse prodigy Li Haotong- will hope to recapture the type of form that saw him triumph here last year.

The Volvo China Open | Thursday 27 April - Sunday 30 April | Topwin Golf and Country Club, Beijing

The Ian Woosnam designed course has one fairly amazing characteristic: practically every single hole offers a view of the Great Wall of China. The Parklands Style Course has water in play on every hole bar three, while undulating fairways are supposedly the hardest tactical challenge facing players this week. Mild weather is expected this week and one should expect another low scoring endeavour.  

This event has actually served up some spectacular contests since it opened on the tour in 2005. Paul Casey beat fellow Englishman Oliver Wilson in a playoff in the 2006 edition. Former PGA Championship winner Y.E Yang was an impressive champion in 2010 before huge hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts blew the competition away in 2011. Branden Grace was sensational in 2012 and this year’s edition will hope to reach the lofty heights of the aforementioned predecessors.

Past Winners
2016: Li Haotong (-22) | 2015: Wu Ashun (-9) | 2014: Alexander Levy (-19) | 2013: Brett Rumford (-16) | 2012: Branden Grace (-21)

To Win Outright
Bernd Wiesberger 10/1 | Ross Fisher 11/1 | Alexander Levy 25/1 | Joost Luiten 25/1 | Fabrizio Zanotti 28/1

Value Bets

Fabrizio Zanotti - To Win 28/1 & To Place 6/1
Looking in the upper echelons of the betting paradigms, you could do a hell of a lot worse than the Italian this week. Though he is amongst the betting favourites, a 28/1 price hardly screams a rip-off when you consider the form that he is in. He won in Malaysia before tying for 12th at the WGC Mexico Championship. He then finished tie for 5th last week at Shenzhen and he looks a man gearing up for something special.

Dean Burmester - To Win 40/1 & To Place 17/2
Burmester was right in the thick of the action last weekend until a dismal final round 78 saw him spiral out of contention. But he played poorly the week before he claimed the Tshwane Open title and his prodigious length off the tee - coupled with a sound putting game - should stand him in good stead this week. He did miss the cut here a year ago - which is clearly not the most attractive of indicators - but this has only helped to make his price more appealing considering the fact that he was in contention last week for such a long period.

Haydn Porteous - To Win 100/1 & To Place 22/1
Last year's round of the week was a 63 by Hennie Otto. Otto went on to say that the course had a very much South African feel to it. Using that as a springboard to greatness, I’m looking at Porteous as a wildcard. Since notching up that debut victory last season he has failed to really capture the imagination in the way people felt he would. He caught the eye last week and finished in a tie for 19th last year in this event, breaking 70 on all four days. After a miserable run where he couldn’t’ make a cut, he has made five in succession, including shooting a ten birdie 67 last Thursday. The price seems right for a man with the potential to blitz a golf-course.

The Man to Beat
Ross Fisher To Win 11/1 & To Place 24/10
Though he has only one win to his name in the last 6 years on tour, Fisher could easily have had several more. He disastrously three-putted on the final hole in Shenzhen to narrowly miss out on a playoff. He is, however, in great form at present and should benefit from a field that doesn’t quite feature the European elite. He finished tie for 3rd in Mexico before finishing tie for 5th at the WGC Matchplay.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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