European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley will be a keen spectator at the final round of the Volvo China Open after predicting a “very, very bright future” for Chinese golf.

Pelley arrived in Beijing in time to see the final 18 holes of what has been a memorable event and set to climax with a classic head-to-head battle between South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli (-19) and Spanish star Pablo Larrazabal (-16).

This is a terrific facility at Topwin Golf and Country Club and a fantastic field,” said Pelley. “From what I hear from the players, the golf course has improved somewhat from last year so I’m looking forward to a spectacular Sunday.”

Won in 2015 by Wu Ashun and in 2016 by Lia Hao-tong, the Volvo China Open has again seen a strong showing by Chinese-born players with six making the cut and both Li and Cao Yi in the top ten with just one round to play.

It’s a fact not lost on Pelley who praised both Volvo and the China Golf Association (CGA) for leading the way in the growth of the sport in the world’s most populous nation.

There is no question that Volvo’s sponsorship and their involvement in Chinese junior golf has certainly led to the development of some great stars,” he added.

You don’t have to look any further than Li Hao-tong who won the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship and then went on to win the Volvo China Open. That’s a perfect example, a great illustration of their commitment to junior golf.

“I really believe in the Chinese Golf Association and their commitment to excellence and to grass roots golf here in China and I believe that when you start to look at some of the success they’ve had on the world stage - when you look at Wu Ashun and Li - I think China has a very, very bright future.”

As for the present, Pelley is fan of the Volvo China Open and the long-term support the European Tour has enjoyed from Volvo. 

“I think beyond just golf but in all sports the key to the success and longevity of the sport is great partners,” he said.

Volvo has not just been a great partner to us at the European Tour - I think they’ve been a part of 86 events on the Tour over the past 30 years – but they’ve also been a great supporter of golf supporting close to 150 events so far worldwide. Their partnership is terrific and the golf and the game couldn’t flourish without great partners like Volvo.”

But while the European Tour CEO is delighted to be back in Beijing, one aspect of his trip has surprised him.

“The biggest thing I noticed this year was the weather - it’s absolutely terrific,” he said with a smile. “It’s a little hot for me but I’ve got my sunscreen on and I’m ready to go.”



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