China Open 2024 Tips: 125/1 shot one of five for DP World Tour

 | April 30 | 

17 mins read

Jamie DP World

This week marks the return of the Volvo China Open to the DPWT, which takes place at Hidden Grace Golf Club. It is the first time the event has appeared on the tour’s schedule since 2019 - with the last four editions cancelled due to Covid - and closes out the tour’s Asian Swing.

As always, we've asked our ace golf tipster Jamie Worsley to give us his China Open predictions and he has five each-way picks ranging from 20/1 to 125/1!

China Open Betting Tips

  • 2.5 pts Bernd Wiesberger each-way (1/5 - 8 places) - 20/1 
  • 1.5 pts Jesper Svensson each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 35/1
  • 1.5 pts Kiradech Aphibarnrat each way (1/5 - 6 places) - 35/1 
  • 1 pt Gavin Green each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 55/1
  • 1 pt Sarit Suwannarut each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 125/1

The highly competitive Japanese Golf Tour is producing some real talent at the moment and they have taken the DP World Tour by storm over the last 12 months.

It all began with Ryo Hisatsune’s win in the Open de France last year; the first victory in a regular DPWT event for a Japanese player in 40 years, since Isao Aoki’s win in the 1983 European Open.

He’s now been joined by three of his compatriots in 2024, who have accounted for three of the last seven winners on the DPWT: Rikuya Hoshino in the Qatar Masters, Keita Nakajima in the Indian Open and Yuto Katsuragawa in last week’s co-sanctioned ISPS Handa Championship in Japan.

Drawing inspiration from his countrymen’s successes, Katsuragawa came from three back entering the final round to run out a comfortable three-stroke winner, thanks to a flawless final-round 63.

With the new relationship between these two tours starting to bear fruit, we should expect more of the same over the coming years, and what the last couple of months should’ve taught everyone is that these players should be taken very seriously when making the step up.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

The China Open was first staged in the mid-90s on the Asian Tour, before becoming co-sanctioned with the DPWT in 2004. It took place every year following that, up to and including 2019; although, whilst cancelled on the DPWT, the event continued to go ahead on the China Tour during the pandemic in 2020, 2021 and in 2023, the Asian Tour stepped in to co-sanction the tournament.

It returns to Hidden Grace Golf Club’s Lake Course (formerly Genzon Golf Club – A), which first hosted the tournament in 2014 and then every renewal since 2019.

As yet, Alexander Levy remains the only player to win two China Open titles, coming 2014 and 2017.

There have been just two Chinese winners in the event since it achieved DPWT status, with Ashun Wu (2015) and Haotong Li (2016) giving the home fans something to cheer in back-to-back years.

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen won the last DPWT-sanctioned edition back in 2019, beating France’s Benjamin Hebert in a playoff; whilst Huilin Zhang and Jin Zhang won the solely China Tour editions in 2020 and 2021.

After being completely absent in 2022, the event returned with that edition sanctioned with the Asian Tour last year. It was won by Thailand’s Sarit Suwannarut in hugely impressive fashion, destroying the field by six strokes and he returns as the defending champion this week.

THE COURSE

Hidden Grace Golf Club’s Lake Course was designed by Neil Haworth in 1994, who then returned to remodel the course in 2007. Aside from hosting this event in 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023, it also hosted the Shenzhen International on the DPWT from 2015-17, which saw wins for Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2015), Soomin Lee (2016) and Bernd Wiesberger (2017).

The course par and yardage has remained largely the same since the last DPWT edition in 2019. This 7145-yard par 72 possesses 10x par 4s (325-475 yards), 4x par 5s (536-575 yards) and 4x par 3s (186-226 yards).

How difficult the course plays depends on conditions and we’ve seen anything from -8 to -20 winning scores; averaging 16-under-par in the eight events at Hidden Grace since 2014.

Dragon Lake is the centrepiece of the property but only comes into play on the final six holes, with players first travelling around the perimeter of the venue anti-clockwise; through more densely tree-lined holes, framed by tall evergreen trees on the front nine before becoming more exposed as they approach the lake on the back. The routing is rather pleasing and with two consecutive holes rarely playing in the same direction, it can be extremely difficult if the wind blows.

The undulating fairways are quite generous and rough generally a non-issue, however that doesn’t make this an easy driving course. There are almost no straight fairways, with most doglegging in one direction or the other. Players will need to avoid some smartly-placed bunkers and show a strategic approach on many holes, hitting the correct side of the fairways to give themselves the best angle of attack into the greens.

The course uses paspalum throughout, including on the large, undulating putting surfaces and their surrounds. Quality approach play will be required to access some potentially tricky pin positions and there is more strong bunkering on show for protection.

There are plenty of scoring opportunities out here, with all par 5s reachable and several shorter par 4s, including the drivable 325-yard 11th. However, many come with an element of risk/reward, with each of the four par 5s protected by water – which is in-play on nine holes in total.

That includes those final six holes around the lake, which makes for an exciting and memorable finish to Hidden Grace Golf Club, and a challenging one if windy.

THE WEATHER

The forecast doesn’t look great for this week’s China Open, with thunderstorms predicted before the event and posing a continual threat throughout the tournament.

There will be plenty of stoppages if the forecast is correct but when out on the course, players will have very receptive conditions and unless those 25mph+ gusts become a more constant feature, I’d expect to see some low scoring this week.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Approach

We don’t have any tournament-specific stats for Hidden Grace but it’s pretty clear that precise iron players are the most well-equipped to take advantage of the receptive conditions. Our last DPWT winner of the event, Mikko Korhonen is a strong iron player; as is 2017 Shenzhen International winner, Bernd Wiesberger.

  • SG: Putting (paspalum)

The thing that most strikingly ties the majority of the past winners together is quality on the greens. Mikko Korhonen, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Alexander Levy and Soomin Lee are/were all decent on the greens and with many likely to find a high percentage of them due to the receptive conditions, you’re going to need to hole some putts.

Look out for those who putted well on the paspalum surfaces at the Qatar Masters, Bahrain Championship, Ras Al Khaimah Championship and Singapore Classic.

  • SG: Off-the-Tee or Driving Accuracy

As detailed, the course has its challenges off-the-tee and a solid all-round ball-striking performance will likely be required to contend. Whether that be taking the course on with length or hitting plenty of fairways; the course has seen both types win in the past.

  • Par 5 Scoring

Finally, whilst the par 4s also offer up many good scoring opportunities, the par 5s really must be scored well. The longest comes in at 575 yards, with the other three all shorter than 550. Though danger lurks on all, there should be a lot of eagles/birdies and players will be giving up too much ground on the rest if not taking advantage of them.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Portugal Masters (Dom Pedro – Victoria Course)

The exposed, undulating Victoria Course features large, easy-to-hit greens, many risk/reward holes and plenty of water in-play down the closing stretch. All which it has in common with Hidden Grace GC and that has caused many players to carry form between the two courses.

Notable correlating form:

Alexander Levy:

China (1st) / Portugal (1st)

Bernd Wiesberger:

China (1st) / Portugal (3rd, 4th)

Mikko Korhonen:

China (1st) / Portugal (3rd)

Soomin Lee:

China (1st) / Portugal (4th)

Joost Luiten:

China (2nd) / Portugal (2nd)

Brandon Stone:

China (2nd) / Portugal (2nd)

Alvaro Quiros:

China (3rd) / Portugal (1st)

Ross Fisher:

China (3rd) / Portugal (2nd)

Gregory Bourdy:

China (3rd) / Portugal (7th, 7th)

Jordan Smith:

China (5th) / Portugal (1st)

David Lipsky:

China (5th, 5th) / Portugal (5th)

Open de France (Le Golf National)

You can’t speak of courses with exposed, watery finishes without mentioning Le Golf National. Similarly to this week’s course, it has large, undulating greens and usually requires a strong ball-striking performance to go well.

Notable correlating form:

Bernd Wiesberger:

China (1st) / France (1st)

Tommy Fleetwood:

China (2nd, 2nd, 3rd) / France (1st)

Brandon Stone:

China (2nd) / France (5th)

Haotong Li:

China (2nd) / France (7th)

Gregory Bourdy:

China (3rd) / France (6th)

Jordan Smith:

China (5th) / France (2nd)

Thorbjorn Olesen:

China (8th, 8th) / France (2nd, 3rd)

BMW International Open (Golfclub Munchen Eichenried)

Tree-lined yet fairly spacious and with large greens, the often scorable Golfclub Munchen Eichenried looks a good comp for this course in the potentially easier scoring conditions this week.

Notable correlating form:

Alexander Levy:

China (1st) / BMW International (3rd)

Bernd Wiesberger:

China (1st) / BMW International (4th, 5th)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat:

China (1st) / BMW International (4th)

Haotong Li:

China (2nd) / BMW International (1st)

Joost Luiten:

China (2nd) / BMW International (2nd, 3rd)

Ross Fisher:

China (3rd) / BMW International (2nd)

Alvaro Quiros:

China (3rd) / BMW International (3rd)

Jordan Smith:

China (5th) / BMW International (3rd)

Omega European Masters (Crans-sur-Sierre)

Whilst Crans-sur-Sierre is more tightly tree-lined, the largely doglegging fairways require a similar level of strategy off-the-tee as in China. With the plethora of risk/reward chances on offer, lots of water in-play and having to contend with ever-changing wind directions, it has been a good comp for Hidden Grace GC in the past.

Notable correlating form:

Bernd Wiesberger:

China (1st) / European Masters (2nd)

Joost Luiten:

China (2nd) / European Masters (5th)

Scott Hend:

China (4th) / European Masters (2nd, 2nd)

Julien Quesne:

China (4th) / European Masters (5th)

David Lipsky:

China (5th, 5th) / European Masters (1st)

Fabrizio Zanotti:

China (5th) / European Masters (3rd)

THE FIELD

We’ve lost a little strength from the top end of the field that played in Japan but this is predominantly the same field of DPWT competitors that teed it up last week.

Jordan Smith is the top-ranked played in the field at #93 and one of only two from inside the top 100, joined by #98 Sebastian Soderberg.

Sarit Suwannarut defends the title he won last year when co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. There are a further six formers winners in attendance: Jin Zhang (2021), Huilin Zhang (2020), Alexander Levy (2017, 2014), Haotong Li (2016), Ashun Wu (2015) and Nicolas Colsaerts (2011); whilst two of the winners of the Shenzhen International at this course, Bernd Wiesberger (2017) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2015), will also tee it up.

Similar to last week’s visit to Japan, the field is made up of a large group of home talents. Outside of past winners, Haotong Li and Ashun Wu, the most interesting of these is perhaps 16-year-old, Yanhan Zhou; who turned pro just a few weeks ago after rising as high as 42nd in the amateur rankings and already has two wins on the China Tour to his name from his amateur days.

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Tom McKibbin 14/1, Jordan Smith 14/1, Sebastian Soderberg 16/1, Bernd Wiesberger 20/1, Yannik Paul 20/1, Haotong Li 22/1

I’m going to get stuck in right near the top of the betting this week and after another promising performance in Japan, I’m taking former course winner, Bernd Wiesberger to conquer Hidden Grace GC once again.

2.5 pts Bernd Wiesberger each-way (1/5 - 8 places) - 20/1 

Wiesberger finished 24th at the Gotemba Course in a super-consistent performance; making just two bogeys across the 72 holes and ranking top-10 tee-to-green.

Much like the rest of his performances this season, in which he’s finished top 25 in four of six starts and missed one cut, the putter held him back from getting into contention. However, with the continual strength of his game T2G – ranking 3rd for the season overall - if he just manages to find small improvements with the putter he’s bound to be a serious contender.

The Austrian was well in command at this course in 2017, taking a three-shot lead into the final round of the Shenzhen International. He stalled a little in round four, though it still needed a superb closing 63 from Tommy Fleetwood to take him to a playoff; but he responded well from letting that lead slip to take down the classy Englishman in extra time.

Wiesberger returned to the venue for the 2019 China Open and again performed well, firing a pair of 68s over the weekend to finish 14th. As a winner in France, runner-up in Portugal and possessing several top 5s across the BMW International Open and Euro Masters, his comp form is as impressive as anyone’s, and with his form this year looking like it’s a matter of when, not if he will claim a ninth DPWT title, this looked an ideal spot for him to do so.

wiesberger 20-1

1.5 pts Jesper Svensson each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 35/1

Jesper Svensson has been one of the breakout stars of 2024 on the DPWT. Already recording a win in East Asia on paspalum surfaces this year, he can double up his DPWT tally in swift fashion this week.

The Swede enjoyed an excellent year on the Challenge Tour in 2023, winning once and recording three runner-up finishes to take him into the top 5 of the Road to Mallorca standings, earning him a first stab at the DPWT this season.

He displayed his potential at this level at the back end of last year, finishing 2nd in the South African Open and has gone from strength to strength in 2024.

Just three starts into the new year, Svensson recorded a second runner-up finish on the tour in the Bahrain Championship and followed up with further top-20 efforts in Qatar and Kenya. A subpar effort in the Jonsson Workwear Open followed but he bounced back emphatically on his next start in the Singapore Classic, shooting a joint-best of the week 63 in round four to make up a five shot deficit on the leaders and made his way into a playoff for the title. In which he defeated Kiradech Aphibarnrat for a first tour success.

He did miss his first cut of the year last week in Japan, however he wasn’t that far off it with rounds of 69 and 70. With that coming following over a month off since his win in Singapore, it’s a result that’s easy to forgive, especially now coming to this more generous driving course.

Svensson does everything to a good standard but this top-10 bomber excels with driver, ranking 24th OTT and on the greens, ranking 36th; both of which contribute to him being a top-20 par 5 scorer.

Whilst he has no course or comp course form to speak of, we can take huge encouragement from his two best performances of the year coming on paspalum, as he ranked inside the top 10 on the greens both in his win in Singapore and runner-up finish in Bahrain.

Jesper Svensson

1.5 pts Kiradech Aphibarnrat each way (1/5 - 6 places) - 35/1 

The man Svensson beat in that playoff in Singapore, Kiradech Aphibarnrat is the last man into this week’s field and currently enjoying his best stretch of golf in several years, this former course winner looks to have every chance this week.

Kiradech has mixed his time between the DPWT and Asian Tour so far this year and after looking slightly underwhelming on his first two starts of 2024 in the Middle East, he’s been excellent since.

He hasn’t missed a cut in any of his last seven starts and has finished no worse than 37th, which came in the Indian Open three starts ago. He’s turned five of those starts into top 25s and two into top 3s, which came in the 2nd-place finish in Singapore and two starts ago he finished 3rd against a good field in the Saudi Open on the Asian Tour.

Aphibarnrat had four rounds in the 60s to finish 30th in Japan last week. He was the second-best player in the field T2G and it was promising to see him once again hit his irons well, ranking 5th; areas in which he ranks 9th and 11th on tour for the season respectively.

Whilst not the high-quality putter he once was, he did putt well on the paspalum surfaces in Singapore. Now coming back to a place at which he won in 2015 - beating Haotong Li in a playoff for the Shenzhen International - I’m hoping the positive vibes will spark further life into his putting and help end his six-year wait for a fifth DPWT success.

Aphibarnrat 35-1

1 pt Gavin Green each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 55/1

Gavin Green has been typically hit and miss in 2024, as he continues his search for a breakthrough win at this level. However, he has started to show some really positive signs in approach and coming back to a course at which he finished 19th on his one and only try in 2019, he looks a good fit for this week.

Missing three of his first four cuts of the year and only just scraping into the top 50 in the other one, Green started the year slowly but has looked much better over his last six starts.

He’s only missed two cuts over that time and recorded three finishes in the top 12, the best of which came when 5th in the Indian Open two starts ago. Though missing the cut in Japan last week, much like Svensson he wasn’t all that far away.

Prior to last week, Green had produced two of his best approach performances of the year. He looked especially good in this area in India, ranking 2nd and coupled with that usual quality on the greens – ranking 1st in putting this year -  we saw him produce a season’s best result. Add in the fact his driver is starting to look like a weapon again and he ticks plenty of boxes for Hidden Grace GC.

The Malaysian golfer indeed showed his suitability to this course in that top 20 in 2019, where he looked good on these greens. With a runner-up finish in Portugal to his name, along with several high-class efforts at Crans - including finishing 8th last year - he has plenty of comp form to suggest he can better that debut effort this week.

gavin green 55-1

1 pt Sarit Suwannarut each way (1/5 - 8 places) - 125/1

Finally I’m going to take a chance on last year’s winner of this event, Sarit Suwannarut. I feel he may have been slightly underestimated due to that event being on the Asian Tour, but he annihilated a strong field there and also possessing a win in the Indonesian Masters – one of the premier events on the Asian Tour – he’s shown himself to be a player not afraid of a big occasion.

Suwannarut turned pro in 2018 following a solid amateur career and made initially steady progress in the pro game, winning on the Thai Tour the following year. However he’s taken things to a new level in the last two years.

His win in Indonesia came in December 2022 and saw him comfortably take down names that included Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Anirban Lahiri and Jazz Janewattananond by four strokes.

He did largely struggle for form last year but peaked at the right time to win the China Open; producing scintillating golf with rounds of 65 and 64 over the weekend to coast to victory by six strokes. Beating a top 10 that included LIV’s Andy Ogletree (a three-time Asian Tour winner since 2022) and Eugenio Chacarra.

That win was the result of a strong week on the greens, and as a big hitter with an also decent level of accuracy, we see why he took to the venue.

Suwannaraut has run with that positivity this year, making each of his four cuts so far and finishing inside the top 25 on three occasions; looking in good shape to give a positive account of himself in defence of his title, at this heightened level of the DPWT this week.

Sarit Suwannarut 125-1

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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