Beijing is the host city this week for the Volvo China Open as the European Tour rolls onto a new venue at Topwin Golf and Country Club. This is the first time this course has held such an event so we have no form lines or guide whatsoever. There are plenty of short par 4's and a few very long par 5s so I do believe the longer hitters will have the slight advantage here. It is however tough to gauge with a course we know so little about. It is a Woosnam design and it is in perfect condition according to reports so I expect scores to be quite low even though wind could play a factor throughout the week.
After an agonising second placed finish for us last week Joost Luiten heads out once again in search of a victory. Two second placed finishes on the trot and a host of other form heading into the Spanish Open means Luiten is one of the form players on the tour right now. I was disappointed he was a shade lacklustre last Saturday and couldn't make a better fist of it.
A top price of 10/1 awaits for those who wish to back him this week. I have grappled with myself this last 24 hours whether to get involved again in Joost and I have decided we need to. He is head and shoulders above this crowd right now and putting quite well which is ominous for the rest. He is a very classy golfer and probably still a shade ahead of the handicapper. In Luiten's last four China Opens he hasn't finished outside the top 20 so clearly doesn't mind travelling to these parts of the world. The top price of 10/1 is only fair, it's not big value but on a course we are second guessing on how it will play I feel he is the safest option. Betting favourites is no doubt something we'll get shouted down for by a few but nevertheless this is warranted and he holds every chance. Due to the nature of this event I'll be backing win only as I see no value in those place odds considering the course is an unknown.
Joost Luiten - 2pts @ 10/1
Our second and final bet in an event we are treading very carefully with is Alexander Levy. Yes we are on the jolly and second jolly bandwagon this week. Levy came up just short last week with a drive on the 17th being gobbled up by a pond and putting pay to his chances. He wouldn't have won anyway considering the brilliance of Soomin Lee but he still contended all week long. A top 15 finish in Spain can be seen as a tremendous result also as Levy isn't exactly straight off the tee. A runner up spot in Perth in late February also shows that Alex is on his way back to peak form. He loves China with a win in this event in 2014 and top 3 finish last term. All things are pointing to another solid week for Levy and considering none of the rest of the field are arriving here in the form of these two lads I feel it is the safest option to side with both. Bernd Wiesberger would be a big threat should he arrive in good nick but that is a lottery, and question marks as ever will surface about his putting. Alex Noren is another who has shown form of late and I wouldn't put anyone off backing him this week, although his price is just a bit too skinny for my liking.