Dan Roebuck’s European Tour Preview – China Open
After just failing to reward each-way backers last week, Alex Noren is given another chance as the headline selection in the staking plan as the European Tour stays in the Far East for the Volvo China Open, staged at Binhai Lake Golf Club for just the second time.
The Swede, who is the favourite ahead of defending champion Branden Grace, led going into the final day of the Ballatines Championship last week, only for his title bid to be derailed with an early penalty, awarded on the second hole on Sunday when his ball moved a fraction as he addressed his par putt. He was very unlucky and that could have affected him for the remainder of the day as he went on to shoot a last round 74. However, two top six efforts coming into this week’s event in Tianjin – where he also finished sixth 12 months ago – is still good enough form to see him mount a challenge.
Pablo Larrazabal’s recent numbers have been even better, with three top six finishes in his last four starts. It looks like he has found a little extra off the tee recently – which will be key at this week’s track that rewards those who can hit it out there – and with four sub par rounds registered at Binhai last year he can be expected to go well again.
Paul Waring is one of the longer drivers on tour and, after a wrist injury stopped his progress last year, his form has picked up recently with fourth in Spain coming hard on the heels of 15th in Morocco. The Birkenhead born professional ranked inside the top 30 of all the main stats categories in Valencia and is a terrific each-way bet.
My three off the tee – Noren, Larrazabal and Waring.