The Volvo China Open has been hosted by many of China’s best golf courses and, for the second consecutive year, the event will be hosted by Beijing’s Topwin Golf and Country Club – as home-favourite Haotong Li tries to defend his first European Tour Title.
The par-72 course measures 7,261 yards, and the picturesque parkland layout was designed by Ian Woosnam. It winds itself through an abundance of chestnut, pine and fruit trees, and offers stunning views of the Great Wall Of China. Meanwhile, the course itself features hard, fast and undulating greens, and water hazards on 15 of the 18 holes.
However, despite it sounding quite a demanding layout, last year’s tournament was won with a total of 22 under-par.
Two players who featured at last week’s Shenzhen International top this week’s betting-market, but it’s asking a lot for Bernd Wiesberger to go back-to-back, whilst the inform Ross Fisher is respected but looks too short at around 11/1 for a player who hasn’t won a tournament for a while.
However, whilst it’s difficult to defend a title, the chances of Haotong Li can’t be ignored. The local hero, who knows the course better than anyone, simply surged through the field last year in the final-round, and there’s no reason why the youngster can’t raise his game again. He was a bit of a disappointment last week, but it’s worth noting that he played poorly the week before this tournament last year.
Another player who played well here last year was Richie Ramsay, and the Scot looked like he might get into contention last-week before fading into 21st. That was just his second start back after a break though, and he could have shaken off the rust just in time to be competitive here.
Another player who went well here last year is David Lipsky, who finished ninth, and he looks an obvious addition to the staking-plan this week after finishing fifth last-week. That was his second top-5 in his last 3 tournaments, and he’s got lots of experience in this part of the world having previously won the Asian Order Of Merit.
Finally, multiple-winner Thorbjorn Olesen looks overpriced in a field that is lacking any really strength in depth. Not at his best so far this season, he looks primed for a big-performance sooner rather than later. 8th last week, and 15th here last year, suggest he shouldn’t be far away – and he certainly knows how to win if he gets a sniff of a title.
2017 China Volvo Open Tips
Haotong Li @ 45/1 (Betfred) ¼ odds 1-2-3-4-5
Richie Ramsay @ 70/1 (Bet365, Betfred) ¼ odds 1-2-3-4-5
David Lipsky @ 33/1 (Bet365, Stan James) ¼ odds 1-2-3-4-5
Thorbjorn Olesen @ 33/1 (Bet365, Stan James) ¼ odds 1-2-3-4-5