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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Volvo China Open (2024)

The DP World Tour caps off its Asian swing by moving from Japan to China for the first time since 2019.

The Volvo China Open was last hosted in 2019 as part of the DP World Tour. Previously, it was part of the Tour from 2005 to 2019.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 editions were solely sanctioned by the China Tour and the 2022 edition was canceled altogether. Last year’s edition was part of the Asian Tour as part of their International Series.

This year’s installment is now co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and the China Tour.

This will also be the last DP World Tour event for the next three weeks as it is set to begin the European Swing on May 23rd.

The Field

This week’s field consists of both DP World Tour established and up-and-coming stars along with a plethora of Chinese and Asian based golfers.

Sebastian Soderberg headlines this week’s field as he comes in with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his last two outings, including last week in Japan.

He’ll be joined by the likes of Jordan Smith, Tom McKibbin, Yannik Paul and Zander Lombard as notable names in this week’s field.

Haotong Li is arguably the most notable of the Chinese participants looking to claim victory on home soil. Ashun Wu is another notable Chinese player in this week’s Field.

Taichi Kho was the first Hong Kong golfer to win an Asian Tour title at the rain-shortened 2023 World City Championship and will be playing this week as well.

Sarit Suwannarut of Thailand comes in as the defending champion, winning last year’s installment as part of the Asian Tour as part of their International Series.

Huilin Zhang (2020) and Zhang Jin (2021) were winners of this event during the sole sanctioning of the China Tour.

Other former champions of this event teeing it up this week include Nicolas Colsaerts (2011,) Alexander Levy (2014 & 2017,) Wu (2015) and Li (2016.)

The Course

This week’s venue, Hidden Grace Golf Club in Longgang, Shenzhen, China was formerly known as the Genzon Golf Club. It was originally known as the Citic Loggong Golf Club.

It pays as a par-72 at 7,145 yards.

Hidden Grace Golf Club was originally designed by Neil Haworth and opened in 1995. It underwent extensive renovations in 2008 before reopening a year later

The venue is set in a botanical garden that encircles a large lake.

The course itself is largely tree-lined but the last seven holes are wide open,

The fairways this week are generous in width and undulating and the rough is described as non-penal and very consistent. All signs point towards this course being a bomber's paradise.

Hidden Grace is entirely laid in Paspalum and the greens are Paspalum Platinum. We know that Paspalum is typically one of the toughest grasses to putt on across the world of golf so bringing a hot flat stick this week is a must.

Overall, the course is a parkland style course with generous tree-lined fairways and features plenty of water.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, the weather does not appear to be on our side this week. Thursday currently calls for a 90-percent chance of precipitation with thunderstorms. Saturday and Sunday are calling for a 70 and 80-percent chance respectively for precipitation and thunderstorms. Friday is currently the only day to not call for thunderstorms but is calling for a 60-percent chance of precipitation. Even leading into the event doesn’t look promising as Wednesday is calling for a 100-percent chance of precipitation and thunderstorms and Tuesday is calling for a 40-percent chance of precipitation. 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Par 5 Average Scoring

Betting Card

Haotong Li (+2500)

I will begin this by stating that Li will likely be the most played golfer of this tournament. If you’re one who steers away from the general public in terms of betting, avoid Li. However, I cannot. If you’ve been following me this season, you know I love Li. He comes into this week at the very top of my model. He is currently seventh on Tour in SG: APP, ninth in SG: PUTT, 15th in scrambling, 17th in par five average scoring, 32nd in average driving distance, 44th in SG: OTT and 84th in Greens in Regulation Percentage. He was within three strokes of the lead heading into the final round of the ISPS Handa Championship but a final round of 72 took him out of it last week. Beyond that, he has placed T14th at the Dubai Invitational and T7th at the Hero Dubai Classic. He also placed T16th at the Qatar Masters. The Qatar Masters and Ras Al Khaimah Championship are two events that many believe best correlate to this week’s event and venue. I’m playing two units on Li this week.

Zander Lombard (+3300)

Lombard was a name I hammered early and often this season. He had a ton of success early on this season but has since cooled off. Looking back he placed T4th at the Joburg Open, T12th at the South African Open, T25th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, T6th at the Dubai Invitational, T16th at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and T2nd at the Bahrain Championship. He also placed T13th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and T16th at the Qatar Masters on those two courses that correlate nicely to this week. Lombard is currently 13th on Tour in average driving distance, 17th in SG: OTT, 24th in scrambling, 27th in par five average scoring, 39th in SG: PUTT, 42nd in GIR% and 46th in SG: APP. He’s top 46 in each of the seven statistical categories I took into consideration this week. I’m playing a unit on him.

Johannes Veerman (+5500)

Veerman is a new name to my betting card this season. In his last outing at the Hero Indian Open he placed T2nd. He’s also made the cut in each of the nine events he’s played on the DP World Tour this season. He placed T16th at the Qatar Masters as well. Veerman is currently 13th on Tour in GIR%, 21st in SG: PUTT, 29th in SG: APP, 46th in average driving distance, 50th in par five average scoring, 89th in SG: OTT and 104th in scrambling. I’m playing a unit on him this week.

Paul Waring (+6600)

Waring is a name and value I love this week. I know he missed the cut last week in Japan but did place T6th at the Qatar Masters earlier this season. He also has finishes such as a T11th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and T16th at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open this season. Waring is currently 15th on Tour in GIR%, 24th in SG: APP, 32nd in scrambling, 37th in SG: OTT, 42nd in SG: PUTT, 52nd in par five average scoring and 91st in average driving distance. The distance off the tee leaves a bit to be desired but the rest of the game lines up perfectly. I’m playing a unit on him as well.

Louis De Jager (+7000)

It’s tough to find real longshots in a co-sanctioned field as many of the spots are taken up from the other tours. With that being said, I do love the value here at 70/1 for De Jager. He is currently seventh on Tour in SG: OTT, 12th in average driving distance, 22nd in SG: PUTT, 34th in par five average scoring, 40th in scrambling and 57th in GIR%. Of course he’s going to have a red flag and that comes with his approach as he ranks 121st in SG: APP. He has done some good things this season, including a T5th at the South African Open and T11th at the Jonsson Workwear Open. He also placed T20th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and made the cut at the Qatar Masters. I’m also playing a unit on him.

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