Sweden’s Alexander Bjork will be looking to successfully defend his title when he leads the field at the 25th Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen from May 2-5.
Last year, the 28-year-old won his maiden European Tour title when China’s National Open Golf Championship was staged in Beijing and the Swede is one of a number of leading players from the European and Asian Tours who have confirmed their places in the RMB 20 million tournament.
“Volvo has been a huge supporter of golf in China since 1995 so it seems fitting that the first Swede to win the Volvo China Open will return as defending champion when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the tournament,” said Sven de Smet, Chairman of the Volvo China Open Board. “Alexander was a very popular winner last year and we look forward to welcoming him to Shenzhen for a landmark event in the history of the tournament.”
It will be the second time the Volvo China Open has been staged at the Genzon Golf Club – the venue hosted the 20th anniversary in 2014 – and comes just months after the club became the first Chinese addition to the European Tour Properties’ world class network of destinations.
For Bjork it is a chance to return to the country that provided him with the first European Tour victory of his career and a final round in Beijing that the man from Vaxio described as “the best I’ve ever played.”
Despite fighting jet lag after a gruelling flight from Morocco, Bjork produced four superb rounds to lift the stunning trophy and the biggest winner’s cheque of his life in what was his 44thappearance on the European Tour.
“Over the final round and especially the last nine holes, I played some really good golf and the feeling when I actually managed to pull it off and win was fantastic,” said Bjork as he builds up towards his first European Tour title defence.
“I’ve played Genzon before and it’s quite a tough course with a good layout. I remember it being a tropical-style course with hot and humid weather. I enjoyed it when I was there in 2017 so I look forward to going back there and I know it will be a great event.”
Like last year, the 25th anniversary of the Volvo China Open will be tri-sanctioned by the China Golf Association and the European and Asian Tours meaning yet another strong field of international players will come together to compete alongside the best of Chinese golf.
And while Bjork’s 2018 Volvo China Open success helped propel him into the top 75 on the Official World Golf Ranking and set him up to finish in 19th place on the season-long Race to Dubai, the Swede is hoping that a return to the country of his greatest success will kickstart the 2019 campaign.
“To be honest, it almost feels like the season hasn’t started yet,” he added. “I’ve only played five events and I’ve taken some time off. I’m not too happy about the results in the events but I’m positive that the work I’ve been putting in now over the last month will pay off over the rest of the season.
“I’m always trying to improve and want to win more tournaments and be able to compete for victories in the biggest events. This year, the immediate goals are to improve my ranking from last year, move inside the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking and win more events.”