Five to watch: Volvo China Open
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
The European Tour and OneAsia again combine to co-sanction the Volvo China Open.
156 professionals including 16 Australians will tee it up at the Tianjin Binhai Lake Golf Club for the USD$3million tournament.
Here are five players we think will be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Peter Hanson (SWE)
The highest ranked player in the Volvo China Open at 24th in the World, Hanson has had an outstanding 2012 season to date. Hanson is in great form having his career best finish at the Masters two weeks ago with a tied third, he rested last week and will be looking to continue his Masters momentum this week. Hanson has liked the big stage this year having finished 4th and 5th at the WGC Cadillac Championship and WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. Aside from these results his other top finish this year has been a second at the Qatar Masters in February. Hanson is on the verge of his eighth career title and this week’s Volvo China Open could be it.
Michael Hendry (NZ)
Coming into the Volvo China Open on the back of winning the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Hendry is always a threat at OneAsia tournaments having previously won the Indonesia Open in 2010. Having spent the early part of 2012 competing on the PGA Tour of Australasia he currently leads the Order of Merit after three successful tournaments. Along with his New Zealand win he finished outright third at the Victorian Open and tied 11th at the Adroit Insurance Group Victorian PGA Championship. This week Hendry will be looking for a good finish to make up for his unfortunate start to the 2012 OneAsia season where he was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard at the Indonesia Open in March.
Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)
European Tour regular Colsaerts is the defending champion this week and will draw from this experience as he looks to claim the Volvo China Open for the second consecutive year. Colsaerts comes into the tournament in solid form having played eight events to date on the European Tour and recording four top 10 finishes, the best of these being a third at the Sicilian Open in early April. Last year’s win at the Volvo China Open was the 29 year old’s first professional victory after trying for 10 years. Although in unfamiliar territory as a defending champion Colsaerts has gained confidence from competing regularly in some of the game’s biggest tournaments including the World Golf Championship events.
Andre Stolz (AUS)
The 2011 OneAsia Order of Merit champion Andre Stolz is looking for another successful season to retain the title. The Volvo China Open will tee of his campaign after he missed the season opening Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open to compete on the Nationwide Tour’s Louisiana Open. Success on OneAsia last year is a sign that Stolz is headed back to the form that saw him win on the PGA TOUR, this week will be a good test for Stolz to compete against some of Europe’s best professionals and see how his game stacks up.
Marcus Fraser (AUS)
With an Official World Golf Ranking of 104 Fraser is the highest ranked Australian in this week’s Volvo China Open. Returning to Australia at the end of 2011 Fraser had a successful summer on home soil recording a tied second at the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola after a playoff with Robert Allenby and eventual winner Greg Chalmers. He also finished outright second at the JBWere Masters behind Englishman Ian Poulter who is also in the field this week. Taking this form back to the European Tour Fraser recorded a tied fourth at the Avantha Masters in India early in the season but more recently has struggled with two missed cuts. Heading back to Asia this week could see Fraser’s form return.