The European Tour remains in China for the second successive week, moving from Shenzhen to Beijing for the Volvo China Open. This is the 22nd renewal of this event and there is quite a buzz about it returning to the Chinese capital. A country’s national open is always a big event locally but there is no doubt that the event has improved in quality since 2004 when it was added to the European Tour schedule.
The host venue this week, Topwin Golf and Country Club, is very fitting. In one regard it is unmistakably China. The course is surrounded by lots of natural, typically Chinese fruit trees, plants and wildlife and there are views of the Great Wall of China throughout the layout. In another regard, Topwin is a fairly European course. Designed by Welsh golfing legend, Ian Woosnam, it is a parkland course which would not look out of place in the Home Counties. The par 72 is a long test at 7,229 yards but previous events at Topwin suggest that we are going to be in for a low scoring affair.
Many of those taking part this week were also in Shenzhen and therefore will have had their planning for the Volvo China Open affected by the awful conditions that forced a Monday finish. They will, though, be happy about the forecast for the week in Beijing with a mild wind looking like the only barrier to some seriously low scores.
Last year’s winner, Wu Ahsun, became the first Chinese winner of this event since the European Tour became co-hosts. Ashun is back to defend his title but he will have to overcome the challenge of some of European golf’s leading lights once again which is every bit as unlikely as his odds of 200/1 with Bet365 suggest.
We start our betting tips with the man right at the very top of the bookies’ outright markets, Joost Luiten. The Dutchman is the most consistent player on the European Tour this season with six top 10 finishes to his name, including a runner up berth in his last two tournaments. Luiten is one of those players who doesn’t stand out for anything in particular but his game in general is incredibly strong and, while he may be a bit tired, he will be there or thereabouts once again at odds of 10/1 with BetVictor.
When the European Tour visits a long course it always provides Bernd Wiesberger with a good chance of victory. The Austrian absolutely bombs it off the tee and has enough touch around the greens to capitalise on the strong positions he puts himself in to. If he can get to grips with the greens early he should go close at 16/1 with Bet365.
Tommy Fleetwood has generally enjoyed playing his golf in China. The Englishman finished runner up in this event in 2014 and comes into this week on the back of two solid performances at Genzon and Valderrama. He’s only missed one cut all season and he should get plenty of chances to move up the leaderboard so back him each way at 33/1 with Coral.