PGA European - Volvo China Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, April 19th through Sunday, April 22nd
SITE: Binhai Lake Golf Club, Tianjin, China
COURSE ARCHITECT: Dye Design (2011)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,667
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 423 Yds10 - Par 4 374 Yds
2 - Par 5 572 Yds11 - Par 4 392 Yds
3 - Par 3 260 Yds12 - Par 5 575 Yds
4 - Par 4 481 Yds13 - Par 3 287 Yds
5 - Par 4 420 Yds14 - Par 4 498 Yds
6 - Par 5 593 Yds15 - Par 4 390 Yds
7 - Par 4 374 Yds16 - Par 3 199 Yds
8 - Par 3 246 Yds17 - Par 4 469 Yds
9 - Par 4 484 Yds18 - Par 5 630 Yds
36 3,853 Yds36 3,814 Yds
Annual:  18th (9th year as part of European Tour)
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et) - taped
Defending Champion:  Nicolas Colsaerts
Runner-Up:  Soren Kjeldsen, Peter Lawrie, Pablo Martin, Danny Lee
Tournament Record:  264 (Nicolas Colsaerts, 2011)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Nicolas Colsaerts, 2011)
36-Hole Record:  131 (Jamie Donaldson, 2011)
18-Hole Record:  61 (Jamie Donaldson, 2011 - Luxehills International CC)
Total Purse:  $3,168,357
Shares:  1st Place - $526,675; 2nd Place - $351,117; 3rd Place - $197,819
2011 Finish
Nicolas Colsaerts264Christian Nilsson269
Soren Kjeldsen268Jamie Donaldson270
Peter Lawrie268Gregory Havret270
Pablo Martin268Danny Willett270
Danny Lee268Five players at271
Past Volvo China Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Nicolas Colsaerts (264) -- S. Kjeldsen, Pe. Lawrie, P. Martin, D. Lee
2010Y.E. Yang (273) -- Stephen Dodd, Rhys Davies
2009Scott Strange (280) -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
2008Damien McGrane (278) -- Oliver Wilson, Simon Griffiths, M. Lorenzo-Vera
2007Markus Brier (274) -- Scott Hend, Graeme McDowell, Andrew McLardy
2006Jeev Milkha Singh (278) -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
2005*Paul Casey (275) -- Oliver Wilson
2004Stephen Dodd (276) -- Thomas Bjorn
2003Lian-Wei Zhang (277) -- Thaworn Wiratchant
2002David Gleeson (272) -- Pablo Del Olmo
2001Charlie Wi (272) -- Thongchai Jaidee
2000Simon Dyson (275) -- Jyoti Randhawa
1999Kyi Hla Han (273) -- Christian Pena
1998Edward Fryatt (269) -- Takeshi Ohyama
1997Jun Cheng (280) -- Adrian Percey
1996Prayad Marksaeng (269) -- Yu-Shu Hsieh
1995Raul Fretes (277) -- Ying-Juh Lai

* - Won in Playoff

Top Contenders in the Field
Nicolas Colsaerts------T-8Won
Peter LawriemcmcT-28T-2
Pablo Martin---19thT-36T-2
Soren KjeldsenT-56------T-2
Jamie Donaldsonmc---T-4T-7
Gareth Maybin---T-20T-45T-10
Damien McGraneWonT-38T-17T-22
Wen-Chong LiangT-8T-25T-17T-41
Stephen Gallacher------T-36T-52
Simon Dyson---T-11---T-52
Oliver WilsonT-2---T-51T-59
Rhys DaviesT-28---T-2T-71
Scott StrangeT-14Wonmcmc
Peter Hanson------T-28---
Colin Montgomerie---T-25T-45---
Francesco MolinariT-44---------
Paul Casey------------
Hennie Otto------------
Ian Poulter------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Ian Poulter
Darkhorse - Hennie Otto
Last Week's Pick to Win (Louis Oosthuizen) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse (Soren Kjeldsen) - Finished tied for 16th
The 2012 European Tour season continues this week in China with the 18th installment of the Volvo China Open. This is the ninth year that this tournament is part of the European Tour International Schedule. Five players in the top-50 of the world rankings are playing this week -- Peter Hanson (24), Ian Poulter (25), Simon Dyson (38), 2005 champion Paul Casey (43) and Francesco Molinari (46).

Hanson is playing for the first time since finishing tied for third at The Masters two weeks ago for his best finish in a major. Hanson led by one stroke heading into the final round, but finished two shots out of the playoff between eventual champion Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen after firing a final-round 73.

Amateur Guan Tian-lang of China is in the field this week at the age of 13 years and 173 days. He will become the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event. The previous record was held by Lo Shik-kai, who was 13 years and 280 days in the 2003 Hong Kong Open. Guan earned his spot in the field by finishing fourth in the mid-China qualifying event in Hangzhou three weeks ago. He won the World Junior crown in San Diego, California last year by 11 shots, shooting a 63 on the opening day.

Binhai Lake Golf Club will host this event for the first time. The 2011 tournament was staged at Luxehills International Country Club. Binhai Lake was designed by the Pete Dye Design Group and opened for play in 2011.

This week's tournament is the 74th European Tour event to which Volvo has attached its name, with the 1987 Volvo Belgian Open being the first of its extensive portfolio which now stretches into a fourth decade.

Last year, Nicolas Colsaerts fired four rounds in the 60s to earn his first European Tour victory. Colsaerts finished his record-breaking win at 24-under- par 264. The previous 72-hole scoring record at this event was 269, which Prayad Marksaeng set in 1996 and Edward Fryatt matched in 1998. He also set the 54-hole scoring mark. Colsaerts joined Phillipe Touissant as the only two Belgians to win on the European Tour. In a week of great scoring, the tournaments' 18-, 36-, 54- and 72-hole scoring records were all set and 73 of the 75 players who made the cut finished under par for the tournament.

In 2008, Damien McGrane shot rounds of 68-69-68-73 to earn his first European Tour win. McGrane completed the event at 10-under-par 274. That was good for a nine-stroke victory over Oliver Wilson, Simon Griffiths and Michael Lorenzo-Vera. Scores soared in tough conditions during the final round and McGrane's one-over 73 tied for the second best score of the day.

In 2005, Casey defeated fellow Englishman Wilson on the first playoff hole to win the title. It was the first and only playoff in the history of this event.

The European Tour International Schedule continues next week in Korea with the Ballantine's Championship, where Lee Westwood captured the title in 2011.

04/17 14:23:03 ET

As of April 17, 2012, at 02:23 PM ET

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