The European Tour changes course for the Volvo China Open once again as we are no longer playing at Topwin Golf & Country Club, instead it heads back to Genzon GC (the host of the 2014 edition).
The course is primarily tree lined but offers ample opportunity for birdies in the Par 5’s as each of them are scoreable and none of them measure over 580 yards.
The fairways are wide, so driving accuracy won’t be a statistic to target this week, making driving distance more of a priority.
The greens are large, making greens in regulation more of a side note this week, and instead I’d be looking to focus more on proximity to the hole from specific yardages (only in cases where we have that information).
Wind can be a factor at Genzon, but as of writing I wouldn’t put too much stock in the forecast (rain and thunderstorms early on in the week may soften the course a bit, playing even more to the bomber side of things).
Since the China Open hasn’t been held here since 2014, the history listed below is for the Shenzhen International event as this course has hosted an event three of the past four years (2018 they didn’t host).
o The Course
· Genzon Golf Club
· Par: 72
· Yardage:7,100 yards
o Location:Shenzhen, China
o Past Champions: (Last time Genzon hosted was 2014)
· 2018: Alexander Bjork -18 over Adrian Otaegui
· 2017: Alexander Levy -17 in a playoff over Dylan Fritelli
· 2016: Haotong Li -22 over Felipe Aguilar
· 2015: Ashun Wu -9 over David Howell
· 2014: Alexander Levy -19 over Tommy Fleetwood
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Par 5 scoring, Birdies or better
o Important – Current Form, Scrambling
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
Haotong Li (DK $11,300)
· History: MC – MC – 2nd
· Form: DNP – DNP – 43rd– 52nd
· Stats: 3rd– SG: OTT, 21st– SG: T2G, 210th– SG: APP, 60th– SG: P
· Analysis: Haotong finished 50thhere in 2014 and has become quite a golfer since then so I’m not putting much stock in the lack of finishing position in one event five years ago. He’s almost three months removed from his last Top 5 however, and even though his play has been increasing I don’t think I can bite the bullet at this price in more than one or two lineups.
Jorge Campillo (DK $11,100)
· History: MC – 38th– 25th
· Form: Win – DNP – DNP – DNP
· Stats: 50th– SG: OTT, 82nd– SG: T2G, 104th– SG: APP, 32nd– SG: P
· Analysis: Campillo’s win capped off a strong showing over his last two and a half months and was clearly an oversight on my part last week. I think he sees a bump in ownership this week and I won’t be a part of that as we’ve seen the previous week’s winner have a bit of a letdown time and time again on the European Tour. At this price, I want my guys to have motivation to win, not motivation to go home and celebrate their latest achievement.
Jordan Smith (DK $10,400): Smith’s collapse last week was imminent after finishing as the first-round leader. Overall, it’s a strong sign of things to come, but we knew he was going to eject at some point and he did. I like him again this week (shocker) as someone I’m willing to roster in about 20% of lineups, and while he does possess winning upside, we’re going to be happy with anything inside the Top 10.
Scott Hend (DK $8,100)
· History: MC – 4th– 15th
· Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – DNP
· Stats: 79th– SG: OTT, 149th– SG: T2G, 170th– SG: APP, 28th– SG: P
· Analysis: Hend’s play this season has been a roller coaster so he’s probably best served in GPPs this week, but you have to like the course fit (bomber) and course form (MC – 4th– 15that Shenzhen Int’l).
Ross Fisher (DK $9,300): Fisher has enjoyed a ton of success on Chinese soil as he holds seven Top 6’s over his career there, three of them have come in the past four trips to China. His record at the Shenzhen Int’l boasts three cuts made and all three of them led to Top 16’s (including a 3rd place finish). Fisher presents us with a ton of value in his course fit this week.
Richie Ramsay (DK $7,200): A course fit at a much cheaper price is Ramsay having finished in the top 35 in all of his previous four starts, including an 11th place finish two years ago. There’s not much to be said about his form as of writing, but we’re just looking to squeak him through the cut at this price.
Nacho Elvira (DK $9,000)
· History: 25th– 8th– DNP
· Form: MC – DNP – DNP – DNP
· Stats: 179th– SG: OTT, 128th– SG: APP, 112th– SG: T2G, 47th– SG: P
· Analysis: I feel like I was a week early on Nacho last week and sure enough the long layoff proved to be a bit much for the Spaniard. That being said, I think it was just our typical outlier performance and he gets back into the swing of things this week. A top 15 seems like a reasonable expectation, with Top 10 upside.
Alexander Levy (DK $9,500): Clearly has a keen eye for the course having finished 8th, 4th and 25thhere in Shenzhen Int’l editions as well as winning this event in 2014. The form is the real question mark, which is why he’s a dart and not a stud this week. He didn’t look very good last week, on another course he’d played well in the past so I won’t be advocating a heavy exposure of the Frenchman this week.
Cheng Jin (DK $6,700): I’m not super familiar with his game, but his form lists six of seven made cuts on the Asian Tour including a 2nd last week and a win earlier in the season. The pause here would be the pressure he puts on himself to perform in his home open, but that’s why he’s in the darts section and not listed as a value play.
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
Julian Suri (DK $10,800): Runner-up last week to Campillo and you have to think the win is coming very soon. He was in a perfect position beginning Sunday morning and just couldn’t quite get the two birdies he needed to connect. We’re not jumping ship until the win happens.
Fabrizio Zanotti (DK $9,200): Going back to the well on Zanotti this week after a ho-hum four days of play where he didn’t inspire much. Previous finishes here include T16 & T5 (Shenzhen editions) and his Par 5 scoring currently places him 10th on the Euro Tour, which seems like a recipe for success for what he’ll see at Genzon.
David Lipsky (DK $8,700): Lipsky’s Par 5 scoring is strong as he currently ranks 13th in the stat on the European Tour, his eye for tree-lined courses also jives with the course fit and that may be evidenced by his T5 here at the 2017 Shenzhen Int’l. Last week’s Top 5 finish is something to build on and while I’m not expecting a repeat performance, the baseline is there for him to build off of. I’ll be happy with anything inside the Top 15.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)