Volvo China Open April 27th-30th

The PGA heads down to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic this week, but since it is a team event there are no contests being held. Do not fear though the Euro Tour is in full swing and DraftKings has bumped up the tourney sizes over there since they do not have to compete with PGA.

For anyone that has not played Euro Golf yet it is the same format as PGA except that only 65 golfers make the cut instead of the usual 70. This makes it even tougher to get 6/6 through, but if you can the reward is even greater than usual. Also keep in mind since they are playing in China the lock time is going to be Wednesday at Midnight for the east coasters so make sure you do not try and wait till the morning to set any lineups. Information is a lot tougher to find for the Euro golfers, but we can still find some data to help construct our lineups.

The Course

We are heading to Beijing for the Volvo China Open from Topwin Golf & CC which is a course I am sure all of us are unfamiliar with. Topwin Golf & CC hosted this event last year, but before that it was held elsewhere so we have limited data to go on. We are dealing with a par 72 measuring out right about 7250 yards and there is plenty of water on the course so keeping it out of the drink will be a priority this week. The course does not seem too difficult with a -3 cut last year and a winning score of -22 by Haotong Li who I am sure was pleased to win his first Euro event in his native country.

There are several par 4’s that measure under 400 yards and a few will be drivable for the longer hitters if the conditions are favorable. Initial look at the weather tells us sunny skies and hot, but with some strong gusts expected. Figuring out the wind over here is tough enough so trying to pinpoint the wind over in China is going to be a challenge, but as we get closer to lock hopefully it will become clearer if one tee wave has an advantage.

There is no shot tracker over in Euro so it can be difficult to figure out how players attacked the course unless you were watching the tournament. With limited stats to go off here is what I am basing my lineups on:

Driving Distance – Looking at the results from last year it looks like Bombers have an advantage over the accurate players. With these really short par 4’s it would make sense that being able to give yourself eagle and 2 putt birdie chances is a plus. Still with there being a lot of water we cannot just throw out Driving accuracy all together, but it takes a back seat this week for me.

Recent form always is going to be important and with limited course history it may play even a bigger factor than usual this week. Last week’s Euro tournament was also in China so anyone who played will not have any jetlag / travel issues and may have gained some insight into to the type of conditions that are common around courses based in China.

The Field

Most of the regulars on the Euro tour are teeing it up this week, with most absentees being guys who were over here for most of the past month. Favorite would have to be Bernd Wiesberger fresh off a win last week after making the cut at the Masters a few weeks earlier. Since this event is hosted in China there are a bunch of local players in the event, most of which will not be around for the weekend.

Recap

I will save most of the PGA recap for when they are back in action next week, but overall it was a profitable successful week with pretty much everyone in my core getting thru the cut. Luke list and Billy Ho put a damper on the chances to get like 50% + 6/6 lineups through, but that is another rant for another time. Seriously though taking Luke List has long term health consequences which I will not fully realize till years later, but again that is for another time.

Also, congrats to Chappell he finally got a W, long overdue.

Last week in Euro Wiesberger outlasted Tommy Fleetwood and Ross Fisher at the Shenzhen International also taking place in China. That course was a shorter par 72, but the weather did not cooperative with T-storms really affecting the tournament. Bubba Watson was over there and started out strong, but ended up middle of the pack with an uneventful weekend showing. I was not on the Wiesberger or Fleetwood train last week and payed for it dearly, but I am excited for Euro to take center stage this week.

Targets

Top Tier

Joost Luiten $10,400 – Nice discount off the top tier of Bernd and Ross Fisher, but to me rating out basically the same. Joost is consistent and reliable, and even though he is not a bomber he crushes par 5’s which should benefit him here. Wiesberger and Fisher are obviously in play, but I will gladly take the savings which should give some more flexibility to the rest of the roster.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat $9,200 – The guy is known as Asia’s John Daly so that should be enough for you to roster him. Adding to that he recently said that he plays primarily so he can continue to buy expensive watches, shoes and Ferraris which adds to this guy’s legend. All that aside he has real talent and can rack up birdies in a hurry. Good track record in Asia and should fit well at this course. Last week opened with an ugly 75 and rallied with a 66 on Friday to get to the weekend and end up in a respectable 21st. Huge upside, but hard to predict what kind of form you will get.

Pablo Larrazabal $8,600 – Spaniard is playing amazing golf right now and last week he did not make a bogey on the weekend finishing in 11th. Was cut here last year, but his form was not great coming into that tournament and with a sample size of one it is hard to draw much from that. Hits a ton of greens and is playing stress free golf right now which should allow him plenty of birdie opportunities on this gettable course.

Middle Tier

Peter Uihlein $8,300 – Uihlein came over for a few weeks and played well in Puerto Rico and at the Shell Houston open, but he is more of a staple on the Euro tour. In great form, crushes it off the tee and racks up birdies so this is a perfect fit for him. Played last week in China so no travel issues and his price is really tempting. Should be very popular, but I will have plenty of Uihlein this week and look to differentiate elsewhere.

George Coetzee $8,200 – This starts a string of South Africans that I am recommending. I am not sure why they all seem to fit this course in China, but Coetzee is a guy who if you run multiple teams you want to make sure you have exposure to. He is as GPP as they come, just look at his scorecard last week over four rounds. He had an eagle, 24 birdies, a double bogey, a triple bogey, and the rare quad bogey. Coetzee is the kind of guy if he avoids those double and triple bogeys he can win and if he avoids the eagles and birdie streaks he is done.

Brandon Stone $8,000 – Stone is another South African who came over for a few weeks earlier this year and picked up a few missed cuts so he did not seem ready to make an impact over on PGA just yet. However, Stone is a quality player and his talent outweighs his price in a field like this. Recent form has been questionable, but his stats are checking every box and he showed signs of life with an eight under 64 last week in round 3. Usually rostering Stone in Euro means he is your top player and you need a top 5 finish, but being able to get him in the mid-tier this week is a steal.

Lower Tier

Dean Burmester $7,800 – Absolute bomber, the South African is basically JB Holmes. I know I just sold Hotmajik on this guy, but here is some additional info. Top 5 in Birdie or better % and is a great bet to outscore his placement due to Draftkings rewarding erratic play. Last week at Shenhzen he shot 67,70,68, and then 78 which is true to his form of going super low or super high. Threat for multiple eagles this week as he can easily drive multiple par 4’s on this course.

Chris Wood $7,500 – Price really stood out as Chris Wood is one of the better players in the field, but his price does not reflect that. Wood has not played much this year, and lately was over here playing at Shell and the Masters. Recent form is uneventful and he has no course history as he did not play here last year, but just on talent alone Wood makes sense. Looking over the world rankings only three players in this field are ranked higher than Wood and he is the 25th most expensive option on the slate.

Lucas Bjerregaard $7,400 – Talented young gun from Denmark who crushes the ball and has been consistent this year going 7/8 on cuts made. Third place finish last year at this course so he should like the venue and another player who posts birdies in a hurry. Bjerregaard has had stretches this year with his irons getting him into trouble by not hitting enough greens, but looking over his history he should be due for some positive regression as he has been a quality ball striker in recent years.

Fades & Notes

All Chinese Golfers – Sorry China, I hate to fade an entire country, but I do not like the spot for any of the hometown players. There is a bunch of guys who are not reasonable plays and price 6k and below, but China has the last two champs at this tournament in Haotong Li and Ashun Wu, who both are legit players. Both players missed the cut last week and have not played much in the last two months so I will be looking elsewhere.

If anyone has any questions about Euro or in general just let me know and remember to lock those teams in Wednesday night!

Good luck everyone!

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