Alexander Levy arrives for his Volvo China Open title defence brimming with confidence after victory at the Trophée Hassan II last week, and the Frenchman will be hoping to overcome some fatigue as he aims to continue his winning form and his charge into Ryder Cup contention.
The 27 year old claimed his fifth European Tour title – and his third in three years – in Morocco just three days ago, overcoming Alvaro Quiros on the final day to give his hopes of a home appearance at Le Golf National in September a significant boost.
Levy will have to overcome some tiredness and jet lag after the thrill of his victory last week but is confident that he can bring his A-game to Topwin Golf and Country Club – which hosts China’s national open for the third successive season.
The 2016 champion Li Haotong, meanwhile, will undoubtedly be the favourite among the home crowds this week as the Chinese star tees up for the first time since making his Masters debut at Augusta National earlier this month.
“It was really good last week, it’s hard to say anything other than that. I’m really pleased with what I did last week, especially under the pressure, it was really nice to react like that and to win that trophy.
“It was also really good here last year. I remember I was five shots back with nine holes to play, but then I was just one shot back and that was when I started thinking about winning the tournament. It was really nice to get this trophy.
“I was really happy with my game last week and I really like this golf course. There are a lot of wedge shots on this course so we need to be good from the tee and then you can be really aggressive on the greens. That’s the key.
“The winning score is almost always around 20 under or so, so you need to shoot some low scores out there. I’m just thinking now step-by-step and I will try to be 100 per cent for Thursday because I am a little bit tired from the adrenaline last week, the travel and the jet lag. I will save energy and try to be in the best position for my golf and for the rest of the season.
“Nothing has changed with regard to The Ryder Cup. I’m the same person, same thinking. I want to do the same things, just enjoy my life, play golf and we will see what happens. To say the Ryder Cup is my goal, of course it is because everyone dreams about this, but for me we have so many good players in Europe.
“Right now, I need to improve my game to be on this team and I just have to think of my own game and not think too much about the Ryder Cup. I just want to play my best.”
“It’s definitely very exciting to be back in my home playing the Volvo China Open and hopefully I can play well this week and give some support for golf in our country.
“It would mean a lot for sure (to win the event for a second time). To play golf in front of your friends and family and all the people is going to be big for me.
“The course conditions are really good, especially the green conditions, they’re quite fast, so I’m looking forward to playing this week.”
“My game is going fantastic and I think everybody will know that after this week. China is part of my great-grandfather’s family so to win here would mean a lot to my dad. So hopefully I will win again in China and the golf course is always in fantastic shape here.
“The key thing is you have to hole the putt. Just keep it low and beat every one of the 144 players, that is the key for me.”
“I feel like it is a defence for me this week. I love coming to China and I love playing here. I’ve always played well and I’m also looking forward to this week.
“Obviously I came off a high from winning Shenzhen and I think I finished fourth last year, so I played well. It’s a course that I like.”
“It was tough to get breaks and I was unfortunate not to get a better score on the card than I did at Augusta. I felt I played really well and then I had a nice two weeks off. I had some good practice the last two days and I’m just trying to progress nicely into this week.”
“This is my first time in China so I’m really excited and it was great to get up to the Great Wall of China and see it for the first time.
“It would be great to have another win and I’ve had a great season so far but I’m just trying to do all the same things I’ve been doing for the last two months. I’m sure if I play my best I’ll have more chances to win.
“Obviously Jeev (Milkha Singh) won this event in 2006 and I’ve seen it many times on TV but I’ve never played the event and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been playing in the USA for the past four weeks and the game has been up and down.
“That’s how golf is though and I’m feeling pretty confident after what has transpired in the past few weeks. Although I haven’t played that well recently, I know my game and I just need one good round and one good tournament to get it back.”