Beijing, China: A bright future has been predicted for the Volvo China Open.
Ahead of the 24th edition of the tournament (April 26-29), Sven De Smet, Chairman of the Volvo China Open Board, was in bullish mood.
With the introduction of Mitime Golf as the co-promoter with Volvo, De Smet believes that this will be a major boost for the CNY 20 million (about US$3.15 million) event, tri-sanctioned by the China Golf Association, European Tour and Asian Tour, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He said: “China and Asia are key business markets for the Volvo companies. Together we will enhance our player field and secure even higher world ranking points for the Volvo China Open.
“With the Asian Tour’s media coverage, we are confident that bigger audiences across greater China and Asia will be able to follow our tournament.”
Staged at the Topwin Golf and Country Club for the third consecutive year, this month’s event will be Volvo’s 87th sponsored tournament on the European Tour.
“Since Volvo started sponsoring golf in 1987, we have staged 86 European Tour events alone, while our commitment to golf in China is unparalleled. We are delighted to be staying in Beijing at what is a wonderful venue,” added De Smet.
While the Volvo China Open is Volvo’s ultimate flagship tournament, it is only one part of an in-depth golfing sponsorship strategy with the brand also staging the Volvo World Golf Challenge for amateurs, which features about 600 events in more than 30 countries.
De Smet said: “Since 2005, along with the China Golf Association, we have provided different qualifying paths to players of all levels for the Volvo China Open and 12 players qualify for the event every year.”
This year, there have been qualifiers at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club, Fujian Ocean West International Golf Club and Kunming Jialize Sports Club.
Notable names in the field are defending champion Alexander Levy of France, Habitat for Humanity Standings leader Shubhankar Sharma and 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
China number one Li Haotong will also feature in the event. Li, who won the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic, was Volvo China Open champion in 2016 and a former winner of the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship.
Volvo has supported junior golf in China for 13 years starting with the Volvo China Junior Champions in 2005. In 2012, it was renamed and reformatted to the Volvo China Junior Match Championship.
“We held our 2017 Volvo China Open Junior Match Play at Shenzhou Peninsula and we’ll be glad to see a new junior champion star Liu Zehao take his place in the forthcoming Volvo China Open,” said De Smet.