The European Tour heads this week to China for the Volvo China Open. Native son Haotong Li (OWGR No. 39) returns home as the tournament favorite at 12/1. He is followed by Julian Suri, off a T-2 finish in Morocco last week at 14/1.
Jorge Campillo, the winner in Morocco who was tipped in this column last week, earned his first European Tour win in 229 starts and checks in at 16/1. Erik van Rooyen, also T-2 last week, and Jordan Smith round out the top five favorites at 18/1.
This event was played the last three years at the Topwin Golf & Country Club in Beijing but moves this year to the Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen. However, this course is not brand new to these players considering it hosted the Shenzhen International from 2015-2017. Genzon opened in 1995 and was re-designed in 2008 by Canadian Neil Haworth. He basically cleared most of the trees and opened the course a bit more. It will play as a 7,145-yard, par 72. Papsalum grass is utilized throughout and the course is built around Dragon Lake. Genzon has four middle-length par 5s and three shorter par 4s at under 400 yards so there are plenty of scoring opportunities.
2018: Alexander Bjork -18 (40/1)
2017: Alexander Levy -17 (25/1)
2016: Haotong Li -22 (100/1)
2015: Ashun Wu -9 (200/1)
Note: Played at Pudong GC in Shanghai.
2014: Alexander Levy -19 (150/1)
Note: Played at Genzon
2017: Bernd Wiesberger -16 (15/1)
2016: Soomin Lee -16 (180/1)
2015: Kiradech Aphibarnrat -12 (45/1)
Jordan Smith 18/1
Finished a respectable 14th on this course in Shenzhen in 2017. Also finished T-3 in this event last year in Beijing. The Englishman was also the FRL (First Round Leader) in Morocco last week.
Thomas Detry 25/1
The Belgian finished ninth last week in Morocco as he hit the ball well but couldn’t hole many putts. Detry’s current made cuts streak sits at 11. He also ranks 7th on tour in Par 5 scoring and could be one to watch with what looks like soft conditions.
Fabrizio Zanotti 25/1
A bit of a course form play here. Has finishes of 5/16 in his two trips to Shenzhen. Also buying a bit low here considering he ended up shooting an 82 on Sunday in Morocco last week. However, he does have a couple of recent top 10 finishes (2nd in Oman, 7th in Malaysia) as well. 12th or better in GIR in last 4 starts plus 10th in Par 5 scoring for the season.
Min Woo Lee 50/1
The 20-year-old rookie has had some close calls already this season with a fourth in Saudi Arabia and a 5th in Perth. He is 3rd in Par 5 scoring and 8th in driving distance. Min Woo also might have an extra pep in his step as his big sister, Minjee Lee, won last weekend at the LPGA’s LA Open