Xiao eyes homes glory at the Volvo China Open
Beijing, April 7: China’s Bowen Xiao will be looking to impress his home crowd when he makes his third appearance at the prestigious Volvo China Open, which gets underway at the Beijing Topwin Golf and Country Club from April 26 to 29.
The 28-year-old Xiao, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2012, claimed his maiden professional win in a nail-biting fashion where he prevailed on the second extra hole against Australian Bryden Macpherson in his Asian Tour debut five months ago.
He will spearhead the local charge alongside past champion Haotong Li, as well as Wen-chong Liang and Ashun Wu at the CNY 20 million (approximately US$3,150,000) event, tri-sanctioned by the China Golf Association, Asian Tour and the European Tour.
“The Volvo China Open is one of the oldest and most prestigious tournament in China. It’s an event every Chinese player wants to play. It feels different because you get to play alongside some of the top golfers in the world,” said Xiao, who hails from Shandong.
Xiao enjoyed a tied-17th finish at the Asian Tour season-ending event in Indonesia, two weeks after his breakthrough victory. Despite missing three cuts in a row this season, the talented Chinese is determined to bank on his home comfort as he takes aim at another good showing.
“This course is a good test for every aspect of your game, including your tee shots, iron-play and putting. You need to hit your irons well to get on the greens. I won’t set a fixed target for myself. I just want to play my best.
“I will not give myself any pressure to do well, just like how I managed to do so in Xiamen when I won last year. That helps me to play to my best capability,” added Xiao.
Young Indian talent Shubhankar Sharma and Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who sits in first and third place respectively on the current Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, will also feature in the storied event.
Also in the fray are former Asian Tour Merit champions Gavin Green of Malaysia, Scott Hend of Australia and Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee, as well as young Thai talent Phachara Khongwatmai and defending champion Alexander Levy of France.A