The European Tour returns after taking a two week break around the Masters but this event is a long way from Europe. This week’s action takes place at the Genzon Golf Club all the way towards the southern tip of China, but it is a man from the southern tip of America who leads the billing. Bubba Watson jumped straight on a plane after giving Jordan Spieth his green jacket, fulfilling a promise he made to the tournament’s organisers. It is the first time since 2011 that Bubba has played in a regular European Tour event and he is definitely the stand-out name in a field that otherwise looks like any other tour event.
This is not the first time that Watson has played in China. In fact he has very good memories of his game in the country. Three times he’s played at the HSBC Championship in Shanghai, improving each time until finally winning the event last November. There’s no doubt that the $2.5million prize money helped sway Bubba’s decision but he seems genuinely happy to be an important part of the formation of this tournament. If he is to make it back-to-back wins in China, Bubba will need to adapt to the slower greens but his prodigious distance off the tee will be a very useful weapon on the four par fives, especially given the generously wide fairways. As a player with wonderful control of the ball, he’ll be happy with the course’s humps and bumps. With all due respect to the competition, Bubba is the best player in the field which is reflected in his favourite status and odds of 15/2 with Betfred. Still, it’s generally a good idea to side with the best.
Out of the rest of the field there is one player, who has recently returned from injury, with a good chance of getting back to winning ways this week. That man is Chris Wood. The tall Englishman missed the cut on his first two events of the season in South Africa but reminded everyone of his abilities when finishing third at the Trophee Hassan II. Wood has a mixed record in China, ranging from missed cuts to top 10 finishes. Looking at him you might expect his major attribute to be power but he is much more of a technical player than many give him credit for. His accuracy and touch around the greens allow make the price of 60/1 with Bet365 really stand out for an each-way bet.
The third player to include in your bets for this week is another Englishman, Andy Sullivan. The 28-year-old has had a busy season so far and it could have been busier still had he not fluffed his chance to qualify for the Masters by missing the cut in Morocco. He looked a tired golfer but has had plenty of time to recuperate and could fly out to China whenever it suited his schedule. Sullivan has already won twice on tour this year and has played with some of the world’s finest. He’s an ever-improving golfer who could certainly make it three wins at odds of 33/1 with Coral.