European Tour: 4 Things We Learned at the Volvo China Open

European Tour: 4 Things We Learned at the Volvo China Open

u Ashun of China speaks to the media during a news conference after winning the Volvo China Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club on April 26, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
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Home player Wu Ashun claimed victory in the Volvo China Open at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong GC. He carded a four-round total of nine-under-par to win by one stroke from England’s David Howell.

In taking the title, Wu picked up a winner’s chek for almost €500,000. It would move him into the top-15 on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai if he decides to take up membership. He would gain an exemption on the circuit until the end of 2017 should he choose to do so. He currently plays the majority of his golf on the Japan Golf Tour.

“It’s very special winning the China Open, and it’s very exciting,” said the 29-year-old. “I have many friends here, and they helped me a lot and pushed me to play well.”

Wu began the final round tied for the lead with Howell, Alexander Levy of France and another Chinese player Li Hao-tong. But Wu came out on top after a last round of 71 compared to Howell’s 72, Levy’s 73 and Li’s 74.

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Four things we learned at the Volvo China Open:

1 – Wu Ahsun is the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on home soil. He is just the third Chinese player to win a title on the circuit. The others came from Zhang Lian-wei in the 2003 Singapore Masters and Liang Wen-chong in the 2007 Singapore Masters. Before this tournament Wu’s best finish on the European Tour was a tie for 11th at the Maybank Malaysian Open and this win has pushed him into the top-120 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

2 – England’s David Howell continued to show good form in China. He followed a tied fourth place finish in the Shenzhen International last week with a fine runner’s up spot in Shanghai. The 39-year-old has moved into the top-10 on the 2015 Race to Dubai. Howell has won before in China – the HSBC Champions of 2005, in which he outplayed Tiger Woods in the final round to triumph at Sheshan International. At his peak, Howell climbed into the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking and played in two Ryder Cups (2004 and 2006.) British golf fans will be delighted to see him back near to his best.

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3 – Li Hao-tong is another Chinese player who looks to have a great deal of potential. He’s just 19, but he’s already proved he can mix it at a high level. He was second last week in the Shenzhen International and sixth this week. He’s been playing this season on the tour and has made five of six cuts. He’s up to 111th on the Official World Golf Ranking. Look for him to step up another level at some stage over the next couple of seasons.

4 – Conditions were extremely tough on the final day with a strong wind blowing across a firm course. Only six players broke 70 in the last round, and only 19 beat par. Comparing that to the 49 players who managed to break par in round two gives an indication of the test they faced on Sunday. Benjamin Hebert of France didn’t struggle on the par-3 8th mind you; he holed out for an ace. Incredibly, it was the 25th hole-in-one so far on the 2015 European Tour!

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