Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Sports / Golf

Li looking to tee off revival at China Open

China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-16 09:18
Share - WeChat
From left: Players Hak Shun Yat, Li Haotong, Zhang Lianwei and Wu Dianchao pose with the Volvo China Open trophy at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen on Wednesday. CHINA DAILY

Former champion Li Haotong will be looking to end a disappointing year on a high when he tees off at the 27th Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen on Thursday.

A two-time winner on the DP World Tour-formerly the European Tour-26-year-old Li is the highest-profile player in the 108-strong field for China's national open championship, which for the second consecutive year is sanctioned solely by the China Tour due to the pandemic.

But if Li is to return to winning ways, China's most popular player will have to do so without the vocal backing of his supporters as this year's event will be played behind closed doors.

"To be frank, everyone knows I didn't play well this year, and of course there was the pandemic," said Li, who three years ago enjoyed the biggest victory of his career at the Dubai Desert Classic. It was his second European Tour win and saw him become the first male Chinese mainland golfer to break into the world's top 50.

"I think there are many opportunities I haven't grasped and if I could turn back the clock, I think I would grasp them better. I have many goals but it takes a lot of hard work. I think 2021 was a good transition year and I've learned a lot."

As for his chances of winning a second Volvo China Open, he said: "I think Shenzhen is a blessed place for me as I almost won the first European Tour event here in 2015. I like the course very much-it is first class, from hotel to people to management.

"So, I'm grateful for the opportunity to come back here. The target is to play well and strive to improve my ranking in 2022."

Li is one of three former champions in the field. Current China Tour money list leader Zhang Huilin will be looking to become the first player to successfully defend the trophy, while for 2003 winner Zhang Lianwei this week marks a remarkable 27th successive Volvo China Open to stretch his record as the only player to compete in every edition since the inaugural tournament in 1995.

The China Golf Association (CGA) and Volvo Cars have committed to staging the event safely with COVID-19 protocols in place and without spectators present.

"In order to ensure the health and safety of players and tournament-related personnel, the China Golf Association, Volvo China Open and Shenzhen Genzon Golf Club-under the guidance and suggestions of the local government and after careful consideration by the organizing committee-decided that the venue shall be closed and be limited only to players, officials and other necessary support staff," said CGA secretary-general Pang Zheng.

Michel Zhao, chair of the Volvo China Open board and vice-president of communications and Mar-Com for Volvo Car Asia Pacific, said: "The tournament was originally postponed from November 4-7 because of the pandemic. While it is unanimously agreed to close the event to spectators, we have carefully prepared various viewing options both on TV and livestreaming to mobile devices.

"In addition, the Volvo China Open submitted an application to the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf and fully accepted its guidance and supervision. Through various sustainable development measures, we are committed to a Volvo China Open that is both player and event sustainable."

As the grand finale of the 2021 China Tour season, the Volvo China Open offers a total prize fund of 2 million yuan ($314,000). The player who ends the season atop the tour's money list will automatically receive full playing rights for the 2022 DP World Tour, while the tournament winner will also earn six world-ranking points.

In addition to three experienced former winners, the field also features 14 amateur players, the largest amateur entry in the event's history. The youngest is 13-year-old Zhou Yanhan from Chongqing, while Wu Dianchao, a 16-year-old from Shantou, qualified by winning the 2021 Volvo Junior Match Play Championship.

The Volvo China Open is the longest-running professional golf tournament on the Chinese mainland.

Most Popular


What's Hot
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349