The 2018 Volvo China Open has attracted a powerful field of star players from The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association for the 24th staging of the RMB 20 million at Topwin Golf and Country Club from April 26-29.
While two-time Volvo China Open champion Alex Levy of France will be aiming to become the first player in history to win the title on three occasions, he faces a stiff challenge from the likes of Thailand’s number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat, early Race to Dubai pace-setter Shubshankar Sharma of India and China’s very own golfing superstar Li Haotong, winner of this year’s Dubai Desert Classic and 2016 Volvo China Open champion.
Tri-sanctioned by the China Golf Association and both the European and Asian Tours, the Volvo China Open has a reputation of attracting a powerful field and 2018 is no exception.
As well as four-time European Tour winner Levy, also confirmed for the 24th staging of China’s national open golf championship are European Tour stars Bernd Wiesberger of Austria – tied for fourth place at the Topwin Golf and Country Club twelve months ago – and Joost Luiten of the Netherlands who have won four and six European Tour titles respectively.
It’s an exciting provisional entry list that features three of the top ten in The Race to Dubai – Sharma (2nd), Aphibarnrat (4th) and Li (10th) – while Luiten is currently in 20th, Levy in 24th and Wiesberger in 31st with all well aware how much a victory in China would improve their positions in the year-long race to be European Number One.
It will be the first chance for golf fans in Beijing to see the exciting talent of 21-year old Sharma who will be making his Volvo China Open debut following an electrifying start to the season that saw tournament wins in Johannesburg and Kuala Lumpur added to his CV for the 2018 campaign.
But while the talented Indian is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties in golf, Chinese hopes will again rest on the slim shoulders of 22-year-old former Volvo Junior Match Play Champion Li Haotong, who has enjoyed a great start to his career and has become a global name since playing the Volvo China Open as a 15-year old amateur.
In January, the young Chinese superstar underlined his massive potential by holding off the challenge of four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy to win the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
It was a victory that catapulted Li in to the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking – the first male Chinese golfer to do so and currently ranked 42nd – and brought his European Tour title haul to two following his win at the Volvo China Open two years ago. In 2017, he also earned the biggest cheque of his career by finishing third at last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale carding a brilliant final round 63 in the process.
“Once again, we have assembled a powerful field for the staging of the country’s national open and we look forward to seeing all of the players competing at Topwin Golf and Country Club and wish them the best of luck,” said Sven De Smet, Chairman of the Volvo China Open Board.
“Our thanks go to the China Golf Association, both the European and Asian Tours, and to event promoter and management company Mitime for helping stage what we are sure will be a memorable sporting event in China.”