Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 09:25 21/04/2015
The European Tour remains in China this week for the Volvo China Open, which is being played this year at a new venue for the event, the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club, Shanghai. The 7,296yd Par 72 track has previously played host to the BMW Asian Open on the main European Tour between 2004-2008, so at least a few of this rather mediocre field will have had some experience of this lavish layout, which has been reported as having had 100 million dollars invested in its development, and is situated at the rather comical address of No 1 Longdong Avenue!
This is a tight course with narrow fairways in the landing areas, although the rough is not penal. The large bentgrass greens are undulating and quick, if not as grainy as many in the Far East, and brooks, lakes and water hazards make it quite a testing course. The previous winners of the BMW Asian Open have included some quality winners, such as Ernie Els, who shot 26 under around here, to win by an incredible 13 shots in 2005. Other winners around this track have recorded much more modest winning scores, and they include Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Rafael Jacquelin, which indicate this track could well be best suited to straight hitters, with good course management, rather than the power hitters who often dominate on many of the courses in China. Mainly cloudy skies, with little wind is forecast for the four days of the tournament.
As previously stated, this co-sanctioned field lacks real quality, so from a punting perspective, we have another wide open betting heat, especially with many of the market leaders having had no previous experience of this layout. For that reason, another small staking week is recommended.
My main fancy this week is Wade Ormsby, who posted another solid effort last week, with a fast finishing Tied 11th place finish in the Shenzhen International. He just made the cut on the mark, but a 11 under weekend shot him up the leaderboard, and continues his rich vein of form, which has seen him post top 11 finishes in four of his last 5 starts. The Aussie does have some course experience, having posted a respectable Tied 20th place in 2005 BMW Asian Open, and this accurate ball striker, who finished 6th in Driving Accuracy, and 9th in Greens in Regulation last week, should be well suited to this type of track. If the Asian Tour winner is ever going to break his maiden tag on the European Tour, it is likely to be in Asia, so he gets our sporting nap this week.
Despite his putting frailties, I have to include course debutant Tommy Fleetwood in my staking plan this week. Other than another poor week with the flatstick, the Southport golfer could well have lifted the trophy last week, but his 3rd place finish, where he led the Greens in Regulation, showed a welcome return to form for this likeable character. I have a feeling this superb ball striker will be well suited to this layout, so expect another prominent showing this week.
The final selection this week goes to the in form Anthony Wall, who has shown this season he has finally recovered from his injury woes which plagued him for much of last season. The Sunningdale based golfer, who turns forty later this month, has recent form stats of 11-14-2 in his last three outings, and is another who can at least boast some previous course experience, having finished Tied 20th at this track in 2005. In a wide open betting heat, he looks decent each way value.
Wade Ormsby 45-1E/W Coral
Tommy Fleetwood 20-1 E/W Bet365
Anthony Wall 50-1 E/W Betfred