Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)
Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson expects Chinese golf to continue on an upward curve after arriving in Shenzhen for this week's Volvo China Open.

The World Number Three forms part of a strong field at Genzon Golf Club, which is playing host to the 20th Volvo China Open.

"When I first came here the local players were at the bottom of the results list but over the past few years the local players’ results are getting better and better," said Stenson. "We had a 14 year old Chinese player making the cut at last year’s Masters. If you had put me out at Augusta at the age of 14 I think 90 would have been a good score for me. It is very impressive in a short period of time."

After his dream 2013 season, which saw the Swede become the first player to win The Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup, Stenson admits it has been difficult to match those highs in 2014.

However, the 38 year old is confident of coming into form having recorded his best finish of 14th at the Masters recently, despite a bout of flu affecting his preparations.

"I am just kind of waking up to be honest after a little bit of flu," he added. "I am still a bit weak after spending the last 36 hours in bed but I am slowly getting there and hopefully I can rest up and drink lots of fluids and be a bit better tomorrow and be ready to play. 

"In terms of my start to the year, there has been a little hangover from last year after so much success and then all the resulting commitments that come off the course. 

"I have only really had a two week break from it all and it has been tough to kick-start a new season when you are quite low on energy. But other than that I am right on track – I didn’t have a great start to the season last year so I am in the same position as I was last year going into the summer. 

"I played pretty well at the Masters without nailing it but I am happy with the game. I didn’t plan on having a virus for the 20th Volvo China Open but I am here and will do the best I can."

One of Stenson's likely Ryder Cup opponents later this year is US PGA Champion Jason Dufner, and the American has been impressed with what he's seen in China.

"The game is exploding over here," said Dufner.

"I stay in close touch with the junior and college programmes in the States and whether it is Chinese–American kids or just Chinese kids, more and more of them are playing the game in the states. 

"I am excited to be here for my first Volvo China Open. The golf course looks great and it’s quite tight off the tees which I like. I haven’t really touched a club since the Masters because I needed some time off so it will be good to get some competitive golf under my belt again.

"I think I just wanted to play more around the world generally, especially as I have kind of climbed the rankings over the last years. 

"You look at Henrik and Ian [Poulter] and they have played around the world their whole careers on The European Tour. Not just Europe, but all over the world and so many continents. 

"We are spoiled in the States because it is so easy on us, but I think being a top professional you have to be more of a global player. Since Gary Player really started it, golf has been a global sport and I want to do more of that. It was a great for for me to come here so it’s an exciting week for me."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LEVY, AlexanderFRA18-19
2FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-15
3QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-13
4MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-12
T5HANSEN, AndersDEN18-11
T5STENSON, HenrikSWE18-11

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