Volvo China Open. Wu Ashun Wins

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History was made today in China as Wu Ashun wins the Volvo China Open, the first Chinese player to win an European Tour event on home soil, at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club. Quite ironic really as the Chinese Government recently banned Golf in the country, and instantly closed down many golf courses.

Volvo China OPen

Wu Ashun / Getty Images

Wu enjoyed the moment, and his winning total of -9 under par;

“It’s a wonderful day today.

“Everyone knows it’s very tough today, I played very good today and I’ve enjoyed this week.”

“It’s been a wonderful week with wonderful weather and I’d like to thank everybody.”

“It’s very special winning the China Open and it’s very exciting.”

“I have many friends here, and they helped me a lot and pushed me to play well.”

Wu and David Howell both started the day in a four-way tie for the lead with last week’s runner-up Li Hao-tong and  defending champion Alex Levy.

David was tied with Wu as he played the last hole, a par five, but missed his par putt to get into a play-off and handing Wu his history making European Tour win. David was alone in second place at -8 under par, and said it was tough to take;

“It’s obviously tough to take. I was in very good shape to win the tournament for most of the day, and didn’t get the job done. So it’s going to hurt for a while, but I didn’t do a lot wrong.”

“I holed a lovely putt on 17 to save par to give myself every chance coming down the last.”

“It felt like I was already in a play-off, because Ashun was in the clubhouse on nine under, so if I birdie the last I win the tournament, and if I make bogey I lose it. Unfortunately it was the latter.” 

Defending champion Alex Levy finished tied in third place with Emiliano Grillo and Prom Messawat, all at -7 under par.

Volvo China Open. 4 Tied at the Top.

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There are 4 players tied at the top of the Volvo China Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China. Alex Levy, David Howell and two Chinese players  Li Hao-tong and Wu Ashun.

Volvo China Open

Alex Levy / Getty Images

Two late bogey’s from Alex in the third round of the Volvo China Open robbed him of a two shot lead and assured us of an exciting dash to the line in the final round tomorrow. In the end he had to settle for a third round -1 under par 71 and a share of the top spot at -8 under par for the tournament.

Alex got off to a flier carding four straight birdies, but then the birdies dried up and the bogey’s crept in;

“It was the perfect start for me, but after that I got a little bit nervous, because I haven’t played well for three months now so I haven’t been in this position for a while.”

“It’s nice to be back at the top of the leaderboard, but I have to get used to it again.”

“I’m just really happy to be playing some good golf again, that’s more important than me worrying about winning the trophy again.”

“I’ll need to have a good round again tomorrow, but it’s not easy on this course because you can’t be too aggressive.”

David carded a nice -4 under par 68 to get himself into the tie for the top place, he said he was able to take advantage of the conditions today, that suited him better;

“It was a very nice day for me.”

“I felt like there was a score to be had out there, and I adapted to the conditions much better than I did yesterday, when I struggled with the comparative softness of the course. I knew what to expect today, and took advantage.”

“I really got it going nicely around the turn. I had a few chances early on which I didn’t take, but I managed to stay patient and eventually the birdies came.”

Li Hao-tong and Wu Ashun face the pressure of trying to become the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on home soil. They both recorded third rounds of -3 under par 69, and Li said he will just stick to his game plan;

“I will just stick with my plan and play the best I can do out there without thinking about the finish.”

Volvo China Open

Li Hao-tong / Getty Images

Magnus A Carlsson carded the low round of the day, -7 under par 65 , which moved him 37 places up the leaderboard to share fifth with Seve Benson, Richie Ramsay and Prom Meesawat on -6 under par.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s attempt to win back to back titles became derailed today as he shot +4 over par 76 and dropped down the leaderboard to T25.

Volvo China Open. Julien Quesne has 36 Hole Lead

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Julien Quesne has the 36 hole lead at the Volvo China Open at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China.

Volvo China Open

Julien Quesne / Getty Images

Julien shot a second round -5 under par 67 to sit on top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard with half way total of -8 under par, and a one shot lead over compatriot, and defending champion Alex Levy, and America’s Peter Uihlein

In the calm morning conditions Julien made the turn in 32 strokes, saying he had played much better today, and joked that he would not be talking tactics with his friend Alex over their evening meal;

“I played much better today, so that was the main reason for my good score. I felt very comfortable and hardly missed any shots, so it was a very good day all round.” 

“My performance last week definitely helps build the confidence, so I felt good at the start of the week and I’m still feeling good now, but there’s a long way to go.” 

“There are so many good golfers in France now, so it’s logical that you see lots of French players up near the top of the leaderboard. I hope we can keep it going over the weekend.”

 “We don’t really talk about golf when we go out for dinner at night. We try to talk about other subjects, because just speaking about golf gets very boring!”

Alex would have been leading but he took a trip into water on the par four 16th, for a double bogey, and followed that with a bogey on 17;

“It’s a shame to make a double because I played really good today.”

“Maybe next time I do a different thing, a more safe play out of the bunker on the right, but it’s OK.”

Peter had a -5 under par 67 today for his -7 under par total, and Alex -4 under for his -7 under total to share second place.

Last weeks winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat is in a bunch of players at -5  under par, and is comfortable with the tougher weather conditions that prevailed in the afternoon. He is full of confidence as he looks to become the first player to win back-to-back European Tour titles since Rory McIlroy did that last summer.

“I’m very happy, especially as it’s playing tough, there are lots of slopes on the greens and the course is very firm.” 

“I’m not driving the ball as well as I did last week, but the rest of my game is in pretty good shape, especially my short game.”

“I’m still feeling good; I’ve been getting lots of rest and eating well, so I’m feeling fine and ready to go. Mentally I’m still sharp and my confidence is high, so I just have to keep it up.” 

“My Mum is still here with me and she told me to keep going and win back to back, so hopefully I can do it for her. She’s my good luck charm.”

Joining the -5 under club were last week’s runner-up Li Hao-tong, his fellow Chinese home favourite Wu Ashun, with two more Frenchmen Jérôme Lando Casanova and Romain Wattel, with the improving Italian  Matteo Manassero.




Volvo China Open. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

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There was a three-way tie at the top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Kiwi Michael Hendry, England’s David Howell and Bradley Dredge from Wales share the top spot after round one.

Volvo China Open

David Howell / Getty Images

David, Michael and Bradley all fired opening rounds of -4 under par 68 to occupy first place in the Volvo China Open.

David, who won the last of his five European Tour titles at St Andrews in October 2013 said he was delighted with his progress with his golf game;

“I’m delighted, it’s a really different test this week.”

“We knew it was firm in practice, but it was hard to work out how difficult it was going to be. The scoring showed people are finding it tricky.”

“I drove the ball beautifully today, really found my rhythm on the range and took it out onto the course so I kept the ball in play well and did a lot of things right.”

“There was a decent breeze out there, but really it’s the firmness of the greens that is making it difficult for everyone. The greens are in great condition and you’ve really got to think your way round.”

“The greens were really firm so the big thing was if you were hitting fairways you had chances.”

“It was never easy getting the ball close to the hole with slopes on the greens and the firmness; it was quite tricky round there.

“This afternoon the wind is going to get up and it will be firmer still, so I’d be surprised if four under was beaten.”

Kiwi Michael won on the Japan Golf Tour last week, and he admitted that the win had provided a welcome confidence boost.

“It makes the game a little easier I think, it’s always nice to play tournaments when you’re in good form.”

The defending champion Alex Levy was one behind the leaders after a -3 under par opening effort, sharing fourth spot with Julien Quesne and Marcus Fraser.

Last weeks winner in China, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, opened here with a -1 under par 71, in his quest for back to back wins on the European Tour.


Volvo China Open. Levy Lifts the Trophy

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Alexander Levy lifts his first European Tour trophy, winning the Volvo China Open at the Genzon Golf Club.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

Alexander and Trophy / Getty Images

Apart from a wobble during the final round, carding a double bogey six on the fifteenth hole Alexander cruised to victory. A last round -3 under par 69 was enough to see off the challenge of Tommy Fleetwood, at one point the lead was only one shot. Alexander replied to his double on 15 with birdies at 17 and 18, to post the winning score of-19 under par;

“I didn’t feel pressure, it was a difficult putt, difficult pin position, my ball was in the divot. It was a difficult shot, I made double bogey but I knew I was playing well and I was only thinking about my game.”

“I hit one of my best shots on 17. I didn’t feel pressure on the golf course because I’m confident. I just played my golf and focussed on the target. I saw Tommy made a birdie on the 17th but I like the pressure.”

Of the smile that he has been wearing all week, Alexander had this to say;

“You need to take the pleasure on the golf course and keep the smile because if you are upset about a missed shot or not lucky because you make a lip out or something like that, it’s not good to have this feeling on the golf course. You need to enjoy and have the smile.”

Tommy Fleetwood fired a last round -4 under par 68, but in the end it was not good enough to catch the runaway leader. He congratulated Alexander on great play;

“We aim for wins, but today I didn’t really have a chance. I had to play outstanding golf, but Alex has led from Friday, and that’s one of the hardest things you can do. What a performance from him.”

Alvaro Quiros finished third, his expected charge in the last round did not materialize, he carded a par round of 72, and final score of  -13 under par. Six shots behind his playing partner, and the man he was trying to catch, Alexander.

Henrik Stenson, who needed to win here to overtake  Tiger Woods at the top of the World Golf Rankings carded a final bogey free round -7 under par 65, to finish T5. He really wants that number one spot;

“It’s really tight and I just need to play better if I want to get to that spot. And I should have to play better than I have done earlier on this year if I want to get to world No. 1, that’s for sure,”

Low round of the day went to Anders Hansen, a -9 under par 63. He finished alongside Henrik and Ian Poulter.

Volvo China Open. Levy Hangs Tough, Still Top.

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Alexander Levy hangs tough in the Volvo China Open third round and stays in the top position.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

Alexander Levy / Getty Images

Alexander had to scrap for a score today in the rain, carding a third round -2 under par 70, a long way from yesterdays 62. He carded three bogey’s to end the day with a tournament total of  -16 under par, and will have the luxury of a three shot lead going into the final round.  He said it was tough conditions and he found it difficult to focus;

“My target was to do a good job, like the first two rounds, but it was difficult with the rain coming. It was tough to stay focused, but I kept my mind in good condition and played some good shots. I’m happy with my round today.”

“I’m going to play good golf and take some pleasure from the golf course, because it’s a very nice course to play. I want to continue to play like I have for the first three rounds and to enjoy the moment. I will be nervous, but because you’re nervous doesn’t mean you can’t play well.”

Someone will have to go low to beat Alexander, maybe second placed Alvaro Quiros could step up. Alvaro shot a third round -4 under par 68, for a -13 under par total. He would have been a lot closer except for a couple of sloppy bogey’s right at the end of the round, on 16 and 18. Those two dropped shots would have put the pressure on tomorrow, and he had plenty to say about his performance, and his chances for the title. His putting has also improved;

“It has been a tough day, especially with that finish. I have played well with a lot of heart and passion but unfortunately I made three putts on the 15th, I didn’t birdie 17 and then bogeyed the 18th from the middle of the fairway. I am three shots back going into the final round but that is nothing in this game. The only thing that I can say is that I am trying with all that I have. Tomorrow I have a chance and that is good to know.” 

“It depends on a few things and not just me. If Alex plays really well then we might not be able to catch him but it is good to know that I have a chance to be in the top positions because it is a long time since I have won a tournament and you have to consider that too. It has been two and a half years since I won so I have not had those feeling for a long time. We will see if I can get them back tomorrow.” 

“I have been playing well all week and as I said before I have started to putt better and that is the key for me. I have been starting the ball on line which is the positive for me but there is a dark side to my game this week too because I have been missing quite a few easy shots. You saw on the 18th that I am in the middle of the fairway and I manage to miss the green and make bogey which should never have happened, so I have to be careful of that.” 

Mikko Ilonen is in third place at -12 under par for the tournament, with Tommy Fleetwood and Adrian Otaegui  a shot further back on -11 under par.




Volvo China Open. Alexander the Great.

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Alexander Levy fired a great round of 62 to lead the Volvo China Open at the Half-way stage.

Alexander Levy  (Getty Images)

A casual Alexander Levy / Getty Images

Alexander recorded a -10 under par 62, a course record which put him in command of the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club, with a four shot lead. He has a desire to follow the lead of the other French players into the winners circle, especially his friend Victor Dubuisson;

“It is a great round for me, I played unbelievably today and it’s the first time I have played like that. I really like the course and it is in great shape. I played really well and made a lot of putts to make the lowest score of my career. I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realise how good that score is. “

“I played the right strategy today and I just have to try to do that over the next couple of days. I hope that I can play with Ralph tomorrow because he is a great friend and it would be funny if we could play in the last group together tomorrow.”

“I just tried to play one shot at a time. I didn’t realise how good the score was to be honest because I was focussed on playing shot by shot. I am very happy to be here, this is my first time in China and I feel great to be playing so well in what is a really big event for me.” 

“I think the French players are all very close and Victor’s performances over the last few months is helping all the French players and inspiring them to try to do the same. I am friends with Victor. It is mainly through golf that we have a relationship but we are friends. What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French players so hopefully I can try to emulate that.” 

Adrian Otaegui, from Spain, is in second place, a -6 under par 66 for a -10 under par total kept him in touch with the leader. Fellow countryman Alvaro Quiros is a further shot back at -9 under par following his more modest second round of -4 under par 68.

Fourth place belongs to Raphaël Jacquelin, his second round of -5 under par 67 gives him a tournament total of -8 under par, and maybe a slim chance of catching Alexander. He was pretty happy to be where he is, saying he is not playing too well;

“I played a bit better today compared to how I was hitting the ball yesterday, so I feel pretty good. Still a few bad shots, but overall, five under, I’ll take it, definitely.”

Ian Poulter just managed to make the cut, a -1 under par total was due to some poor play and a rules infraction, on the 13th hole. he had driven the ball into trees off the tee, and took the penalty two clubs length relief. The drop left him on a cart path, so he was entitled to relief from that position. A free drop is only one club length, but Ian took two, which incurred a one shot penalty. He finished the hole with an eight on his card.