Shenzhen: Buoyed by record crowds and a wave of exciting young players, the European Tour is looking to expand again in China after some rocky times.
The tour has lost two events in China, including the $7 million BMW Masters, in recent years but there are signs that the good times are returning.
Last week’s 25th anniversary edition of the Volvo China Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, drew a tournament-record 48,000 spectators to Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen.
Forty-five Chinese players were in the field, an unprecedented number for the European Tour, and a record 10 made the cut — including 14-year-old local schoolboy Kuang Yang and two other teenage amateurs.
“Our aim is to try and have two main tour events back-to-back out here [in China],” Ben Cowen, the European Tour’s deputy chief operating officer international, said.
“So the Volvo China Open and another the week after in the region. The jump from Morocco last week to here is difficult for all of our guys, so actually we are going to change that next year.”