Former champion Zhang Lian-wei, the only ever present in the history of the tournament, smiled and made it perfectly clear – the Volvo China Open is the one title every Chinese golfer wants to win.

“To have four winners of the Volvo China Open is a great achievement but there is no reason why we can’t have a fifth this week,” said the 2003 winner during a press conference on the eve of the RMB 20 million tournament which gets underway on Thursday (April 27).

"There will be 41 Chinese players competing and every single one of them has a dream to win their national Open Championship.”

With four wins in 22 starts – including back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016 - Chinese players hold the edge over other nations in the history of the Volvo China Open. And after the success of Wu Ashun and Li Hao-tong in each of the last two years, national pride may yet again see another home-grown winner come Sunday night.

For Wu, capturing the 2015 Volvo China Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club was a life-changing experience. Not only did it give him the huge respect afforded the first Chinese player to win on home soil on The European Tour, it also earned him European Tour exemption until the end of 2017.

“Winning the Volvo China Open opened the doors to the European Tour for me,” he said. “I was nervous at the start of my first few European Tour events but the more I played and got used to the players and the situation the more comfortable I became.”

Now with two European Tour titles under his belt – he also won in Austria in 2016 – Wu is a man admired by many up-and-coming Chinese amateurs, including Zhang Jun-bin, winner of the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championships.

Thanks to that victory, the 17-year-old will also tee up in the Volvo China Open where, like his compatriots, he will no doubt continue to dream of following in the footsteps of Cheng Jun (1997), Zhang Lian-wei (2003), Wu Ashun (2015) and Li Hao-tong (2016) and win the nation’s biggest golfing prize at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

Zhang Lian-wei will start his Volvo China Open campaign on Thursday (April 27) at 7.20am alongside England’s Lee Slattery and South African Darren Fichardt, while Wu Ashun will tee off in the company of England’s Ross Fisher and Jinho Choi of South Korea at 12.20pm. Zhang Jun-bin is scheduled to commence his 2017 Volvo China Open with Swede Alexander Bjork and Gaganjeet Bhullar for company.


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