The European Tour makes its first visit of the season to China at the Volvo China Open in Beijing at Topwin Golf and Country Club. Here are five things to know before the action gets under way.
Third time lucky for Levy
Frenchman and five-time European Tour winner Alexander Levy has the chance to win his third Volvo China Open title. The 27 year old set a new record last season by claiming his second China Open after triumphing in the event in 2014, and can now break his own record this year with a third victory.
Levy beat Dylan Frittelli on the first hole of the play-off after the pair were tied on 17 under par following the Frenchman’s final round of 67. A birdie on the par five 18th in the sudden death play-off gave Levy his fourth title on the European Tour.
His first European Tour win and first Volvo China Open title came in 2014 as he shot a second round course record 62 on his way to victory, where he held off the challenge from Tommy Fleetwood with a birdie-birdie finish on the final round.
Last week, the Frenchman was in fine form to win his fifth European Tour title as he claimed the Trophee Hassan II and will take that winning formula to China this week.
2018 champions on show
This week’s field is packed with 2018 European Tour champions with eight players who have triumphed during the current campaign showcasing their talent in the Chinese capital.
Asia has been a happy hunting ground for five of the eight 2018 European Tour winners teeing it up in China after Li Haotong’s victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Joost Luiten’s title in Oman, Wade Ormsby’s Hong Kong heroics, Shubhankar Sharma’s win in Malaysia, and most recently from the seven Matt Wallace’s triumph in India.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, George Coetzee and Alexander Levy have all succeeded outside of Asia in 2018. Aphibarnrat took the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth title while Coetzee won on home soil in South Africa at the Tshwane Open. Levy is the most recent winner as he triumphed at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.
China flying the flag high
Over a third of the field will be cheered on by home support when the action gets under way. More than 40 Chinese players will tee off in their home championship including 17 year old and 2017 Volvo China Junior Championship Champion Liu Zehao.
The teenager will be lining up alongside 2017 Chinese Amateur Champion Chen Guxin (AM), but all the focus will be on China’s leading star Li Haotong as he goes in search of his second Volvo China Open title after success in 2016.
Three is the magic number
The Volvo China Open returns to the Ian Woosnam-designed Topwin Golf and Country Club for the third successive time and will set a new record for hosting the tournament on the most occasions.
The course was opened in 2011 and has hosted the recent victories of Levy last year and Li Haotong in 2016.
Once again the Volvo China Open will be tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association.
Great Wall, great view
Players and fans will be able to take in the wonders of the Great Wall of China while catching the action at Topwin Golf and Country Club.
The Great Wall – one of the seven wonders of the modern world – is visible from nearly every hole on the Beijing course.