The European Tour heads to Far East this week for the 25th edition of the Volvo China Open. Contested at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen – located on the eastern shore of the Pearl River Delta, neighboring Hong Kong, the tournament will be headlined by native son Haotong Li, the 2016 winner, and the field’s top-ranked player.
Joining the headliner Li will be Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, who’ll return to China to defend his maiden European Tour title – as will two-time winner Alexander Levy of France.
Here’s more on what to expect at this week’s Volvo China Open.
Tournament: Volvo China Open
Dates: May 2-5 2019
Where: Shenzhen, China
Course: Genzon Golf Club
Distance: Par 72, 7145 yards
Architect: Neil Haworth
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Purse: CNY 20,000,000
Winning Share: CNY 3,333,300
Defending Champion: Alexander Bjork
Other Marquee Players: Haotong Li, Ashun Wu, Jorge Campillo, Shaun Norris, Ross Fisher, Julian Suri, Alexander Levy, Kurt Kitayama, Andrea Pavan, Wade Ormsby, Paul Dunne
TV AND ONLINE
The Volvo China Open, considered to be the open golf championship of China, has been played annually since 1995. This year marks the event’s 25th year of competition.
Golf has grown rapidly in China throughout this time frame. After having only two Chinese champions in the first 20 years of the event, two of the last four titles have been won by golfers from China – Ashun Wu in 2015 and Haotong Li in 2016.
The tournament has been a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour since 2003. Genzon Golf Club will host China’s national Open for a second time, having previously held the event in 2014 when Frenchman Alexander Levy won the first of his two China Open titles.
Past event champions include names like Branden Grace, Nicolas Colsaerts, Y.E. Yang, and Paul Casey. Levy is the tournament’s only two-time winner.
The title sponsor of the tournament is Volvo, as it has been since the event’s inception. Volvo holds the distinction of being the longest-running title sponsor of a single tournament on the European Tour. It’s also the car maker’s oldest sponsorship of a single sporting event.
HISTORY: TOURNAMENT NAMES
1995-19: Volvo China Open
HISTORY: RECENT WINNERS
2018: Alexander Bjork -18
2017: Alexander Levy -17
2016: Haotong Li -22
2015: Ashun Wu -9
2014: Alexander Levy -19
2013: Brett Rumford -16
2012: Branden Grace -21
HISTORY: TOURNAMENT RECORDS
SCORING: 264 (-24) Nicholas Colsaerts (2011)
WINS: 2 – Alexander Levy (2014, 2017)
Alexander Bjork carded a 7-under 65 on Sunday to capture his maiden European Tour title at the Volvo China Open.
The 27-year old Swede started the day one-shot back of co-leaders Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui, but quickly joined a group of six players tied at the top in Beijing.
After turning in 33, Bjork owned a one-shot lead for much of his back nine until a gain on the par-4 17th put him ahead by two strokes at 18-under par, two clear of Jorge Campillo (67) and Jordan Smith (64), who were in the clubhouse at 16 under.
Playing in the penultimate group, Bjork waited and watched the final hole of Otaegui, who bogeyed No. 17 to drop back to 16 under, along with playing partner Wallace.
After Otaegui carded a birdie to secure solo-second at 17 under, and Wallace made par to finish 16-under par alongside Smith and Campillo, the trophy was Bjork’s to lift.
FINAL TOP 5
1. Alexander Bjork -18
2. Adrian Otaegui -17
3. Jordan Smith -16
3. Jorge Campillo -16
3. Matt Wallace -16
The field in China includes several players ranked in the world top-100, led by Chinese Haotong Li, who, at No. 39, is the field’s top-ranked player.
Joining Li in the Chinese contingent is the 2015 winner of this event, Ashun Wu. Two up-and-coming golfers to watch are Liu Zehao, the 2017 Volvo China Junior Championship winner, and Yang Kuang (AM), China’s 2018 amateur champion.
Other top-100 ranked players include last week’s winner in Morocco, Spaniard Jorge Campillo (No. 65), Thai Jazz Janewattananond (No. 72), defending champion Alexander Bjork (No. 80) of Sweden, American Julian Suri (No. 93), South African Shaun Norris (No. 94), and Englishman Ross Fisher (No. 99).
In addition to Campillo (Trophee Hassan II), six additional winners of the 2019 European Tour season will be teeing it up this week, including Aaron Rai (Honma Hong Kong Open), Kurt Kitayama (Afrasia Bank Open, Oman Open), David Lipsky (Alfred Dunhill Championship), Guido Migliozzi (Magical Kenya Open), and Scott Hend (Maybank Championship).
FULL FIELD & ODDS
Chinese Haotong Li is the favorite to take home the prize in his homeland. The Chinese star is listed 12-1 to capture his second Volvo China Open title.
American Julian Suri is next at 14-1, while the two men who battled last weekend in Morrocco, winner Jorge Campillo, and 54-hole leader, Erik Van Rooyen are offered at 16-1.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Haotong Li (12-1)
2. Julian Suri (14-1)
3. Jorge Campillo (16-1)
3. Erik Van Rooyen (16-1)
5. Jordan Smith (18-1)
2019 Volvo China Open Field and Odds
Carey Hoffman contributed to this report.
Credits: European Tour Media, Getty Images