A week on from the year’s first major, the European Tour heads for China and the inaugural Shenzhen International to be contested at Genzon Golf Club in the southern part of the country, just 30km from Hong Kong.
It’s a tournament that will be co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the China Golf Association and it will be the third of five new events on the 2015 European Tour.
Competing for a $2,500,000 purse, the event has attracted a strong field as players look to add to their season’s earnings and climb the Race to Dubai.
This is one of four European Tour events that will be held in China through 2015. Next week the circuit remains in the country for the Volvo China Open and, in the Race to Dubai’s “Final Series,” there will be two consecutive events in Shanghai: The WGC–HSBC Champions and the BMW Masters.
Four things to watch for at the Shenzhen International:
1. Bubba Watson will be the star attraction at Genzon Golf Club. The two-time Masters champion is looking to secure a second win in China, following his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions last November. The world number four is looking forward to the tournament.
“This is a great opportunity for me to come back to China and play in a new event, which will make a big contribution to the development of golf in southern China,” he said. “I’m looking forward to coming to Shenzhen and playing my part in making some history.”
2. Alexander Levy of France should have a good chance this week. The 24-year-old has enjoyed considerable success in Chinese tournaments over the last 12 months. He won the Volvo China Open last year and finished second in the BMW Masters in Shanghai. In addition, his Volvo China Open victory came at Genzon Golf Club—the venue for this week’s event, so it’s clearly a track he enjoys.
3. The home players. There will be 50 players from the China Golf Association competing this week and they have a great opportunity to take a step up the golfing ladder. Zhang Xiao-ning, the vice-president and secretary general of the China Golf Association, said: “It will also provide an emerging group of highly talented young Chinese golfers with the opportunity to compete against the best players in the game on a world stage. As we look forward to golf’s inclusion in the next Olympic Games, this tournament will be another milestone in China’s path to becoming a major golf nation.”
4. The form horses. A number of European Tour stars will come into this event with good performances in recent events. Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, winner of the last regular European Tour event (the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco) starts this week, so does two-time winner on the 2015 European Tour, Andy Sullivan of England. Other players to keep an eye on include: Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Chris Wood of England—tied third in Morocco; 2009 USPGA champion, Y.E. Yang of South Korea; and former Ryder Cup star, Peter Hanson from Sweden.