EUROPEAN TOUR specialist (@Vince_RFC) shares his expert opinion on the Shenzhen International
Shenzhen International| 20th-23rd April 2017 | Sky Sports
The European Tour almost found itself finally back on European soil last week but has now returned to the Far East for two tournaments in China.
The Shenzhen International at the Genzon Golf Club is the first stop. This is the third year the course has hosted this tournament whilst also hosting the China Open – next week’s tournament – the year before, so there’s course form, which always helps.
What to look out for
This is the third year we’ve had this China double-header and all four of those tournaments have been won by Asian competitors, so there’s an angle to look at there.
Looking at the stats for the three tournaments that have been played here, it looks as though having power off the tee, hitting the greens and putting well can be a good base to start on.
Bubba Watson makes the trip over for this tournament on a sponsor invite, as has been the case the last few years. He heads the betting along with Tommy Fleetwood and Ross Fisher who both have god form and also records at Genzon.
The weather could play a part in the outcome with rain and electrical storms forecasted, which could make the draw very important.
I’m keeping things simple this week though and will take the chance. When on a bad run (as I am) I like to just go back to course form over anything else and try to cut out the chances of over analysing things.
I picked out my main two picks based on course form before the markets were put up and the prices are around the mark I expected, so I’m sticking with them.
Tommy Fleetwood (16/1 Marathon)
Backing Tommy has proven very profitable so far this year and I’m carrying that on. Winner in Abu Dhabi and runner-up at the WGC in Mexico, he’s in the form of his life and could well go close again.
Form of 2-3-19 on this course is a big plus and it’s no surprise he’s been backed early this week. The Evertonian hits greens for fun and also drives the ball 300+ yards, which should suit perfectly.
The par-5’s aren’t hugely long so they could prove decisive come Sunday. Fleetwood could thrive on them and if he can give himself a few eagle opportunities he’ll be in with a chance.
Haotong Li (35/1 Bet365)
As I mentioned, Asian players have a good record in this part of the world and Haotong Li has a good chance of going one better than his second here two years ago.
Winner of next week’s tournament last year, he’ll be looking to do the double. That’s probably not an actual thing but I’d very happy if the double was completed.
Li finished fifth at the Maybank in Malaysia back in February and a seventh at the HSBC Champions WGC held in China back in 2015 so is well capable of mixing it with the best in that region of the world.
Ashun WU (175/1 Bet365) and Callum Shinkwin (200/1 BetStars)
With 22 players available to back at 40/1 or lower, it means there are a lot of good looking options further back in triple figures that could be worth chancing at generous odds. I’m going to split a normal stake between two players – Callum Shinkwin and Ashun Wu.
Wu hasn’t had the greatest of results recently but could spring a surprise at a big price. Winner of next week’s tournament in 2015, he’ll also be looking to do the double along with his compatriot.
He doesn’t have course form with just a 50th back in 2014 but I’m sure he’ll know the course fairly well. A 13th at the Joburg Open three starts ago is encouraging but a missed cut on the Japanese tour last time out not so much. At the price he’s worth chancing.
Shinkwin is into his second year on Tour and it looked as though he could kick-on after a fairly decent start but for whatever reason he didn’t do so.
He shot a 62 in round three here last year which was five shots better than anyone else to put him in a tie for second heading into the final round. But as is often the case, he couldn’t replicate it and shot 79 the next day.
But that’s still encouraging, as is an eighth and a 14th on his two visits to China on the Challenge Tour. He doesn’t come into this with any form at all, but again, he’s worth chancing at the price.