Here in the USA, the PGA Tour has a team event with the Classic of New Orleans and because the format can make it something of a lottery, we are concentrating on the European Tour this week and some rather more conventional tournament play.
The China Open was first held in 1995, becoming part of the European Tour in 2003 and while some of Europe’s finest have crossed Stateside this week, we still have a strong field coming into the 2018 edition.
Our most recent winner on Tour is also our defending champion so it’s no big surprise to see Alexander Levy out as favorite at +1000 with Bovada. The Frenchman has won the China Open twice in four years and comes here in prime form having claimed the Trophee Hassan by one stroke at the weekend.
Behind the favorite, Haotong Li and Kiradech Aphibarnrat are locked on the same price of +1400 with most top US oddsmakers with Li another former winner, having claimed the title in 2016. After a subdued spell, Aphibarnrat returned to form in 2017 and is a winner on Tour this year, albeit in the unconventional format that is the World Super 6 Perth.
A mid-range price that interests us sits next to Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (+1600) who is something of a specialist when it comes to playing in Asia. Wiesberger has yet to make an impact in this event but he has won in China, having claimed the Shenzhen International last year and has an outstanding record on the continent.
In a similar price bracket to Wiesberger is Joost Luiten (+1800) and then we have Paul Dunne (+2000), runner up at the Open De Espana two weeks ago but a man who missed the cut last time out. Dunne’s mixed form means we will avoid the Irishman as our China Open prediction and pick this time. There are some excellent options in this chasing pack including Julian Suri (+2500) and the talented but inconsistent Thorbjorn Olesen (+2800).
Two players with good showings in recent weeks sit way down the betting for China. Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (+66000 can be a fast starter and a good option for first round leader markets when you can find them but he doesn’t tend to stay the distance. A tie for third at the Trophee Hassan is therefore encouraging and Ilonen is a former runner up in this event, finishing second behind Brett Rumford in 2013.
Callum Shinkwin (+5000) is also among the outsiders in the China Open betting odds. In the last two Tour events, he has started well but faded badly. If he can keep his focus for four days we will start to record consistent single digit finishes.
Further back, Matt Wallace (+8000) and Jordan Smith (+7500) are young golfers threatening a breakthrough and the task is to decide when they will make a concerted challenge on the leaderboard. Dean Burmester (+8000) and Ryan Fox (+6600) have more experience and should be competitive on a more consistent basis and we may come back to at least one of those names in our China Open predictions and picks verdict at the end.
Our Preview’s China Open Predictions with Picks plus Course and Betting Trends
The Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing hosts the event for the third straight year and this is a fairly unremarkable par 72 venue at just over 7,200 yards. Designed by Ian Woosnam, the biggest hazard is water, which is in play on all but three holes and the greens are fiendishly tough meaning that form with the flatstick may be the biggest key to success over four days.
This China Open preview mentioned that Alexander Levy is a multiple winner but he is the only man to complete a double in the 23 year history of the event so that trend isn’t necessarily on the side of former champions. Last year, we were looking at Chinese golfers to continue a trend as Haotong Li’s 2016 win followed that of Ashun Wu 12 months earlier but overall, the winner’s roster shows a mix of nationalities with no single country dominating since the 1995 inception.
As the reigning champion and our most recent Tour winner, Levy is an obvious favorite but we are going for Bernd Wiesberger this week – a golfer who suits the conditions and has a good record in China and Asia as a whole.
You can add to, or replace the outright win tip with some Top Ten suggestions. Kiradech Aphibarnrat looks relatively safe while Mikko Ilonen has good form and Ryan Fox is an underachieving player who could come good this week if he’s in good touch with the putter. So these are our preview’s China Open betting predictions and picks: