2018 Volvo China Open Preview
The European Tour’s brief stop-off in Morocco produced a fifth career victory for Alexander Levy; the diminutive Frenchman who is desperate to be part of the Ryder Cup team on home soil later this year.
He is doing everything right in his quest for selection, ranking ninth on the points list (in-between Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia), and you can guarantee there will be no let-up in Levy’s focus from now until the autumn.
That’s an interesting point for DFS gamers, who will note that the Frenchman is also the defending champion at this week’s event, the Volvo China Open from the Topwin Club in Beijing.
Alexander Levy of France on the 18th green during the final round of…
Alexander Levy of France on the 18th green during the final round of the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on April 22, 2018 in Rabat, Morocco. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Levy has an outstanding record in China, and given his very tangible motivation for success in 2018 he will once again be a tough customer to beat.
But this is not an easy tournament to win; primarily because conditions are so perfect for high quality golf. Topwin is as picturesque as it gets, and the gentle undulations of the layout lend themselves to low scores. Indeed, the last two winners have posted -22 and -17 respectively, and with a fine week weather-wise expected there is no reason why those numbers can’t be matched.
Topwin measures 7,261 yards for its Par 72, and there really is little here to worry the players apart from being distracted by the views of the Great Wall of China. An easy parklands layout, the greens are large but sloping so accurate approach play is required, but really the object this week is to hit plenty of fairways.
Last year’s playoff protagonist Dylan Frittelli, who was bested by Levy in extra time, hit a staggering 80% of fairways from an average drive length of 303 yards, but distance actually isn’t key here: Pablo Larrazabal, Chris Wood and Bernd Wiesberger all bagged top-fives average roughly 285 yards off the tee.
But if you can get it out there then there are advantages to be had. There are four Par 5s and three of those are a piece of cake, and there are two driveable Par 4s as well: those saw a combined tally of 13 eagles and 316 birdies made over the course of the week 12 months ago!
It does seem there is a knack to playing in China too: the last four winners of this event have been either Chinese (Ashun Wu, Haotong Li) or a specialist in these conditions (Levy), so it may well be worth sticking to those who have shown prior form in this part of the world.
Levy is looking for a third Volvo China Open title this week, so does he make our draft and who else features on our roster? Let’s have a look…
This Week’s Volvo China Open Fantasy Picks & Predictions
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