There is less than three weeks until the landmark 20th staging of the Volvo China Open, and the prestigious tournament has attracted an exceptional field of golfers. Henrik Stenson, Jason Dufner and Ian Poulter are all in the world’s Top 20, and they will be joined by many of the European Tour’s leading players, a strong group of former Volvo China Open champions and several of the early season winners in the 2014 Race To Dubai. They will all look forward to competing with China’s own emerging stars at this year’s host venue, Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen, from April 24th to 27th.
The entry list for this year’s celebratory 20th Volvo China Open includes many of the star players from the European Tour. Henrik Stenson, number three in the world rankings, comments; «The field really looks strong for this year’s tournament which is always motivating. I am excited to be playing in China again, and especially the Genzon course. It would be great to add a Volvo victory to my record, and also qualify for the Volvo Golf Champions next year.” He is joined by the improving Stephen Gallacher who makes his debut in the Masters next week, Thomas Björn who is currently number two in the Race to Dubai and Francesco Molinari who has made a good start to the season.
There are plenty of former winners of the Volvo China Open to watch out for, including several who have become worldwide names after their victory. Defending champion Brett Rumford had back-to-back victories last year, Branden Grace had four European Tour victories in 2012, and Nicolas Colsaerts, who won in 2011, went on to win the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship before playing a significant role in that year’s Ryder Cup. According to the Belgian, “I’m really pleased to be back again playing in the Volvo China Open. It is a big tournament that brings back lots of great memories for me from when I won three years ago. I was also runner-up in 2012, and I would love to celebrate the 20th Volvo China Open by getting to wear the golden jacket again!”
Winners on this season’s Race To Dubai are also present in force. In addition to players already mentioned, they include Morten Ørum Madsen, Pablo Larrazábal, Ross Fisher and Alejandro Cañizares. A host of China’s rising stars will also be in the field, and many eyes will be on 17 year-old amateur Dou Zecheng who was the host nation’s best finisher last year. This year he has qualified by winning the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship.
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, is looking forward to welcoming the impressive field and says, “We are delighted to be hosting the 20th Volvo China Open which is not only the longest-running professional golf event in the country, but also the open golf championship of China. Over the years, the tournament has been one of the main driving forces behind the development of this nation’s amazing crop of new talent. In parallel, China has steadily become a more and more important business market for Volvo.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “With a world class field set to assemble at an outstanding venue, we are looking forward to an enthralling 20th edition of the Volvo China Open. Led by our Race to Dubai champion, Henrik Stenson, this year’s Volvo China Open has one of the strongest player fields in the tournament’s history and such strength is another sign of the tournament’s positive evolution.”
The China Golf Association is Volvo’s long-term partner in the event. Their Vice President and Secretary General is Zhang Xiaoning. He believes that, “As the pioneering international professional golf event in China, the Volvo China Open has become one of the high-level international tournaments in China and around the world. We appreciate Volvo’s long-term support for the China Open and their important contribution to the growth of golf and its playing standards in China.”
The 20th Volvo China Open takes place from April 24th-27th at the Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen, Southern China. Entries closed yesterday, April 3rd. This will be Volvo’s 82nd tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund of RMB 20 million includes a winner’s cheque of RMB 3.3 million. Volvo is organising the event together with the China Golf Association and it is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.