Bernd Wiesberger is hoping to make it back-to-back wins in China when he tees up for the 23rd staging of the Volvo China Open at this week’s Beijing’s Topwin Golf and Country Club.
The Austrian’s victory at the Shenzhen International moved the 31 year old up to sixth position in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, supported by his third place finish at the Maybank Championship in February and his tie for fourth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
Having not yet missed a cut this season, Wiesberger will tee it up tomorrow alongside defending champion and home favourite Li Haotong as well as Dane Thorbjørn Olesen.
Olesen, also a four-time European Tour winner, will be looking to better his 15th place finish here in 2016 and comes off a confidence-boosting top ten finish last week in Shenzhen. They will be joined by eight past champions in the field including; Wu Ashun (2015), Alex Levy (2014), Brett Rumford (2013), Nicolas Colsaerts (2011), Y.E. Yang (2010), Jeev Milkha Singh (2006) and Zhang Lianwei (2003).
Two-time European Tour champion Anthony Wall will also have reason to celebrate this week. The 41 year old is competing in his 500th official European Tour event and will become just the 11th Englishman in European Tour history to reach this milestone when he tees off tomorrow morning.
“We had a good dinner afterwards and it was enjoyable to let it all sink in, it felt really good. The hours after that are a bit hectic, a lot of thoughts go through your head, but once I received that first photo with the trophy from friends it felt great.
“Any win is special and unique in its own way. I would have to say it’s special because I didn’t play great on Sunday – I had to grind it out – I’m proud of myself that I was able to handle whatever was thrown at me by the other guys and get through the playoff.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to win a couple of great events, obviously my home open a couple of years ago, but still it’s always nice to pick up a trophy like this at a big event like the Shenzhen International.
“I had a good travel day over on Monday, I was taking it easy yesterday and played a couple of holes this morning, so I am just trying to get the feel for it. Different conditions obviously, quicker greens this week and different grass, so I need to adapt to that a little bit but we have a nice pro-am tomorrow and then ready to go again on Thursday.
“I feel like I am playing nicely, it’s just about getting comfortable on the greens and holing the putts when you have to, so just trying to prepare as much as possible to give it a good charge.”
“I would say last year being the first time going to the Great Wall was amazing but it was nice to get up there again with some of the guys, enjoy some tea, have a little laugh and see it again.
“I was struggling a little bit last week on Friday and Saturday, and then on Sunday I found something in my swing and I was playing really nicely. It felt a lot better and I made quite a few birdies in the last round so some confidence coming into this week.
“The layout of this course is great, a few greens are quite severe and you have to play some really good golf here.”
“It’s great to be back. It was a while ago since I had those top finishes in this tournament and at this moment in time, my golf is very much about me trying to get back from injury and getting back to playing some golf. I still struggle to practice at home and getting the movement in my swing is difficult due to injuries and getting older.
“Playing with some of these guys that have all of the potential to go on and do great things, and watch them up closely, I know a lot of them very well already but you can never have too much information in my situation.
“So it’s nice to watch them without putting any pressure on them because that’s not what it is about. Being out on the golf course, I know what they are capable of as golfers but its more about knowing them that bit better.
“It’s a remarkable growth really. The first time we came here, there was a general feeling of it being very new but now it is an integral part of our Tour and world golf as well. It has grown a lot from a tournament perspective, both the professional and amateur game, and they have so many good players coming through putting their stamp on the game.
“One of the big things for Chinese golf is now the Olympics and I think that will play a massive part in growing the game in this country even more. Everything is taking steps in the right direction, I think maybe we thought it was going to happen a little bit quicker, but this game has a funny way of taking its time and it always has done. It is a slow but good and sure progress and I think that is an important thing. I think things can happen too fast so I think Chinese golf is in a good place with this tournament and with its players.”