VOLVO CHINA OPEN MAKES HISTORIC RETURN TO BEIJING

The first shot of the 23rd Volvo China Open will be struck at Topwin Golf and Country Club on Thursday April 27 on exactly the same date that the first tee-shot was hit in the inaugural event back in 1995.

The Volvo China Open was a groundbreaking event back then because golf was still in its infancy in mainland China, but it would go on to introduce the sport of golf to a huge number of people across this vast country and help to establish the rapid development in the sport that can clearly be seen today.

The capital city of Beijing was chosen as the host city in 1995 and has been revisited no less than six times since then.

Li Haotong played inspired golf to win last year’s event, also at Topwin, and to become the fourth Chinese winner of the title following Cheng Jun (1997), Zhang Lianwei (2003) and Wu Ashun in 2015.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, was on hand to witness Li’s impressive breakthrough last year and said that he is looking forward to another remarkable event this year for the 23rd staging.

"It was fantastic to see Li Haotong win his maiden European Tour title in front of the home crowd at last year’s event,” said Pelley. “We wish him the best of luck for this year’s event.

We also extend our most sincere thanks to our title partner, Volvo, who have championed this event since 1995. Without their commitment and support, this tournament would not be what it is today.

“We look forward to working with the China Golf Association and all of our partners to make the Volvo China Open a huge success for many years to come.

Li’s association with the event goes back well beyond his amazing 2016 victory and in many ways sums up the vital importance the event has had on the sport of golf in the world’s most populous country.

Li was born in the same year that the Volvo China Open began, and at the age of 10 his father to introduced him to the game. This was the same year that the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship was first staged, an event Li was eager to compete in.

In 2010, and aged just 15, Li won the boy’s A Group title to qualify for the 2011 Volvo China Open, where he shot rounds of 76 and 70 to miss the cut.

Four years later Li made the cut for the very first time, and finished in 50th place with earnings of RMB 84,000.

In 2015 Li began the final round tied with compatriot Wu Ashun, and finished the event tied for sixth place with David Howell and Alex Levy, and pocketed earnings of RMB 700,000 – a considerable sum for a 20 year old.

Last year Li became the youngest winner of the title when he closed with a 64 and a record score of 22 under par to win the RMB 3,333,000 first prize.

It was a dream come true to win the Volvo China Open,” said Li. “The victory earned me a two year exemption on the European Tour and gives me an opportunity to compete in some world class tournaments.

Volvo’s 1995 vision to partner with the China Golf Association to establish a long-lasting event could not have been summed up better than with two very talented young Chinese players winning their maiden European Tour titles on home soil over the past two years.

I still have vivid memories of Li Haotongs amazing final round of 64 to clinch the title and the delight of the crowds who came to watch him,” said Sven De Smet, Chairman of Volvo China Open Board and Vice President of Brand & Marketing, Volvo Car Asia Pacific.

Li will come back next month to defend his title and we’re expecting even bigger crowds will be there to support him.

With stunning views of the Great Wall of China readily visible from the pristine fairways of Topwin Golf and Country Club, there could be no better setting for what has now become the longest running professional golf event in the People’s Republic of China.

The 23rd staging of the Volvo China Open takes place from April 27th-30th at Topwin Golf and Country Club, Beijing. Volvo was the first western brand to engage with golf in China in 1995, and this will be Volvo's 86th tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund is RMB 20 million. The tournament is organized by the China Golf Association with Volvo Car Event Management as co-organizer and promoter, and is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.

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