EUROPEAN TOUR specialist (@Vince_RFC) shares his expert opinion on this week's Volvo China Open.
Volvo China Open | 27th-30th April 2017 | Sky Sports
Close but no cigar last week with Tommy Fleetwood coming from miles back to force a playoff with Bernd Wiesberger which he subsequently lost. Fortunately he’s not playing this week so saves me from the dilemma of whether to pick him again or not.
The tour moves north from Shenzhen to Beijing this week for the second stop of this Chinese excursion. As I mentioned last week these two tournaments have been won by Asian players in recent years.
Sticking with Asian experience
That changed last week but Wiesberger has decent form over in the Far East as does Fleetwood so I’m mainly sticking with value looking Asian players and those that perform well over in that neck of the woods.
Topwin Golf and Country Club is the host this week for the 14th Volvo China Open, however last year's renewal was the first at this course.
There’s little to go on so I’m taking no notice of last year's stats as they could turn out to be misleading. The only thing that does stand out is that the winning score was -22 so it’s definitely a scoreable course.
Looking at photos of the course it appears to be very open with undulations and slopes a plenty with some fantastic scenery and backdrops on show.
Taking that all into account it could well be that someone who drives the ball a long way but can also find their touch around the greens could go well round here so that’s something else to take into consideration.
My first two picks have had very similar results of late and I’ve had trouble splitting them so taking the option of backing both of them. Neither are really big hitters but recent form and their records when playing in Asia are both very good.
Levy on the up
First up is Alexander Levy at 25/1. I very nearly picked him last week and he went and finished 8th after a poor first round. The week before in Morocco he had a solid but unspectacular week coming off of the long break so he’s trending in the right direction. If you go back to before the months break he claimed 4th place in Malaysia.
Levy is a previous winner of this tournament in 2014, though on last week's course and followed that with runner up the following year on another course.
Last year's tournament saw him finish 28th on his only trip to Topwin so hopefully he’ll come into this week with some good knowledge of the place.
Overall on his last 10 trips to China he’s had five top 10’s and only once been outside the top 30 and that was a WGC event so that can be excused on account of the field. For whatever reason he likes playing in China and hopefully that will continue one more week.
Lipsky loves Asia
Next is the American David Lipsky at 33/1. He also had a good week last week with 5th place and like Levy also did well in Malaysia in February finishing as runner up. A 9th here last year and a 5th at the Hong Kong Open in December is all the information I need to get him onside for this one.
One more chance for Bjerregaard
Lucas Bjerregaard, 60/1, is someone I find hard to put much trust in as he continuously seems to let me down but I’m ready to give him another chance.
You have to go down last week's leaderboard quite a way to find his name but his stats don’t actually look too bad so that’s a bit of a mystery.
One thing we know for sure is that he can hit a ball miles so it could well suit him. Last year the Dane picked up a 3rd place so it wouldn’t be inconceivable to go one step further and say the course does suit him. He also has a good record in Hong Kong with a few top 5’s and another at the BMW Masters in recent times.
He ticks the boxes on what I think the course might suit, course form and location form so that’s three of the four possible boxes ticked. Add in recent form and he’d be half the price and I wouldn’t be backing him.
Wu worth another go
Lastly I said about backing a local or Asian player but none of them stand out at the prices. I wouldn’t be surprised if last week's pick Li goes well after letting me down last week but there is one other Chinese player I backed that is of slight interest here.
Ashun Wu got off to a decent start but a quadruple bogey in the second round meant he missed the cut by a shot. In a slightly weaker field his odds have inflated slightly to 200/1 almost across the board but Boylesports have him priced at 250/1 plus are paying six places.
He could do nothing but he could also springboard and do well as happens all too often the week after I bet someone but at those odds I can’t resist a small bet.
Volvo China Open – Alexander Levy each way (25/1 Betfred)
Volvo China Open – David Lipsky each way (33/1 Bet365)
Volvo China Open – Lucas Bjerregaard each way (60/1 Bet365)
Volvo China Open – Ashun Wu each way (250/1 Boylesports)