The Volvo China Open has been confirmed as the final piece in The International Series jigsaw for 2023.
Boasting a prize purse of US$1.5 million, the iconic event will take place from November 2-5 at Shenzhen’s Hidden Grace Golf Club – formerly known as Genzon Golf Club.
The Volvo China Open will act as the eighth leg of The International Series – 10 top-tier events sanctioned by the Asian Tour. The Hong Kong Open will follow a week later with the Indonesian Masters bringing down the curtain on the 2023 campaign from November 16-19.
The China showpiece will also mark a welcome return to the world’s most populous country for the Asian Tour, following a four-year absence. The Asian Tour’s last visit there was for the Volvo China Open in 2019.
Cho Minn Thant, the Asian Tour Commissioner & CEO, said: “We are thrilled to have the Volvo China Open back on our schedule. It will be our first visit to China since before the pandemic and I know our members are excited to be able to return there after such a long lay-off.
“Our thanks go to the China Golf Association (CGA), Volvo and the staff and management at Hidden Grace Golf Club.”
Added Zhang Xiaoning, President of the China Golf Association: “The Volvo China Open has consistently set the benchmark for tournament golf in China. It is a pioneering event that has made outstanding contributions to the development of golf in our country.
“This year will be no exception as the tournament has been upgraded to a stop on The International Series, and it will play a key role in preparations for the Paris Olympics after the Hangzhou Asian Games which we are now focusing on.”
Cheng Jun was the first Chinese player to win the China Open in 1997. Other home players to have won their national Open are Zhang Lianwei (2003), Wu Ashun (2015) and Li Haotong (2016). The victories of Zhang Huilin (2020) and Zhang Jin (2021) were both achieved when the event was solely part of the domestic China Tour.
Michel Zhao, Chairperson of Volvo China Open Board, said: “The return of the Volvo China Open will be one of the highlights of the 2023 season, and will attract a global audience. We welcome fans and lovers of the game to watch the top players from the Asian Tour and China Tour competing in one of the region’s most prestigious national Opens. We are confident the coming Volvo China Open will be another exceptional week of golf!”
The tournament is also the longest running professional golf tournament on the Chinese mainland.
Among the famous names inscribed on the Volvo China Open trophy are Korean Yang Yong-eun, Asia’s first Major championship winner, and European Ryder Cup players Paul Casey of England and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts.
With the winner of The International Series Order of Merit earning a lucrative starting spot in next year’s LIV Golf League, the Volvo China Open will play an important part in determining who that player is.
Following last month’s St Andrews Bay Championship in Scotland, the sixth leg of the 2023 International Series, American Andy Ogletree enjoys a handsome advantage atop the standings, almost US$500,000 ahead of Japan’s Takumi Kanaya in second spot.
They are followed by Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, Australian Wade Ormsby and Thai Gunn Charoenkul. Rounding out the current top-10 are Indian Anirban Lahiri, Australian Kevin Yuan, Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra, Australian Matt Jones and Thai Sadom Kaewkanjana.
The International Series Singapore at Tanah Merah Country Club from October 5-8 will act as the seventh leg of this year’s Series.
Rahul Singh, Head of The International Series, said: “We’re delighted that the Volvo China Open will form part of the 2023 International Series.
“This year’s schedule has already included stops in Oman, Qatar, Thailand, Vietnam, England and Scotland. We look forward to completing The International Series 2023 with a very strong finish, as we round out the season with visits to Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
“At the outset, one of the stated intentions was to make this a truly international series. These locations illustrate that we have taken another step forward in delivering on our ambitions.”
The Volvo China Open was held at Hidden Grace Golf Club in 2014, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – so this year will mark the fifth time the club has hosted the tournament.
“The upgrade of the Volvo China Open to The International Series definitely places higher demands on the venue. However, with years of experience in hosting international events, I believe that the club will work together to fulfil its responsibilities,” said Ali Kong, General Manager of Hidden Grace Golf Club.