Li Haotong will play in his homeland for the first time since teeing it up alongside Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament as the World Number 39 leads the field for the 25th anniversary of the Volvo China Open, where Alexander Björk defends.
“My game is feeling quite good at the moment, especially after two weeks off here in China, so I’m looking forward to this week.
“Of course I feel comfortable here this week, especially in Shenzhen – I will have a lot of friends come here to watch me play this week and hopefully I can play some decent golf for them and maybe hold the trophy again.
“I played 18 here and the conditions are perfect. The course is a little bit soft from the recent rain but I think they will be good conditions for the tournament.
“I think for Chinese golf, this tournament has been huge for us, especially as you can see other Chinese players are doing well on the bigger tours now so I think our game is going to grow and grow.”
The 23 year old Chinese rising star, who won his national open back in 2016, was drawn alongside Woods for the opening two rounds at Augusta National, before the American famously went on to claim his 15th Major Championship title.
Although Li was not in contention in the first Major of the year, a strong start to the season has yielded a runner-up at the Saudi International powered by SBIA and a top ten at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Björk, meanwhile, claimed his maiden European Tour victory in this event last year – albeit at a different venue in Beijing – en route to his best season on the Race to Dubai and, following a first top ten of the 2019 campaign in Morocco last week, the Swede will be in confident mood for his title defence.
“It’s different coming to an event as defending champion and it’s also different his year because it’s a different location here at Genzon. But it’s fun to see your face on posters and stuff and it’s a good feeling, I’m looking forward to the week.
“I played the Shenzhen International here two years ago and I thought the course was really good. I had a decent week in Morocco last week with a top ten, didn’t play my best but putted well so if I can get the long game going this week I think I can have a good chance.”
Frenchman Alexander Levy is targeting a hat-trick of Volvo China Open titles having lifted the trophy for the first time at this week’s host venue Genzon Golf Club back in 2014, while Bernd Wiesberger’s most recent European Tour title came at this golf course two years ago in the Shenzhen International.
“I’m really pleased to be back here on this golf course, it’s a lovely place, and this course is where I won my first event on the European Tour. So I’m happy to be back,” said Levy.
“I think it’s a golf course that suits my game pretty well, you have to hit some draws and that’s the trajectory I like most. It’s nice to come to a golf course you like and when I saw that the tournament was coming back to Genzon I was really happy.”