Wu Ashun breaks away to win Volvo China Open

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Mission accomplished: Wu Ashun.

China’s Wu Ashun shot a one-under par 71 on Sunday to break a logjam at the top of the leaderboard and secure an historic victory in the Volvo China Open in Shanghai.

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Wu, who recorded a four day total of 279, or nine under par, became the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event held in China, according to information provided by tournament organisers.

“It’s a wonderful day today,” the 29-year-old Wu said.

“It’s very special winning the China Open and it’s very exciting.”

England’s David Howell finished second in the $3.2 million tournament, shooting a final round 72 to finish at 280. 

The day was not without drama. Howell failed to make an eight foot putt for par on the final hole that would have forced a playoff with Wu.

 

Alexander Levy of France, the defending champion, slipped to a one over 73 and finished in a three-way tie for third at 281 with Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and Prom Meesawat of Thailand.

The tournament, which was played at the par 72 Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club, is co-sanctioned by the European and OneAsia Tours. 

No one has managed to win it in consecutive years in its 21-year history. 

China’s Li Haotong, meanwhile, shot a final round 74 to finish a stroke behind Levy, Grillo and Meesawat at 282.

Wu, Howell, Levy and Li had started the day in a four-way tie for the lead.

The 19-year-old Li, regarded as a potential golfing superstar, won three times on the PGA China Tour in 2014.

The tournament was the 49th European Tour event played in China, according to the organisers.

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Alexander Levy squanders superb start at Volvo China Open

Phil Casey 25/04/2015
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Not fully focused: Alexander Levy.

Defending champion Alexander Levy squandered a brilliant start to leave the destiny of the Volvo China Open wide open heading into Sunday’s final round.

– VIDEO: Howell, Hendry and Dredge share lead at China Open
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Levy threatened to take a stranglehold on the event when he birdied his first four holes at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club to storm into the lead on 11 under par.

However, those would prove to be his last birdies of the day and bogeys on the fifth, 14th and 15th meant the 24-year-old had to settle for a third round of 71 and a share of the lead with England’s David Howell and Chinese pair Li Hao -tong and Wu Ashun on eight under.

“I started really well but after that I made a few mistakes,” Levy admitted.

“On the back nine I was a little nervous because I was aggressive on my putts and made a few mistakes but I still enjoyed the day and it’s nice to be in this position for the last day.

“It’s three months since I played good golf and it was a shame for me not to qualify for the Masters. Now I am back into a good position which is nice and I like this feeling. 

“The low scores came without the wind in the morning so to shoot six or seven under in the afternoon was very tough. But tomorrow I know there is more wind and it will be more difficult and you will need to use your head.”

Li, 19, who lost out in a play-off for the Shenzhen International on Sunday, recovered from a bogey on the second with birdies at the fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth to delight the home crowd with a 69.

“I hit some great shots today and really enjoyed it,” the world number 125 said.

“If I play well on the front nine in the final round the back nine will be very tough, a lot of pressure. But I will still play my game and enjoy it.

“I’m getting a lot of experience and starting to enjoy being in this position.”

Howell followed six straight pars with five birdies in seven holes from the seventh to boost his hopes of a first victory since the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in 2013.

“It was a very nice day for me,” the 39-year-old former Ryder Cup player said after a 68 which featured just one bogey when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the 14th

“I felt like there was a score to be had out there and I adapted to the conditions much better than I did yesterday, when I struggled with the comparative softness of the course. I knew what to expect today, and took advantage.

“I really got it going nicely around the turn. I had a few chances early on which I didn’t take, but I managed to stay patient and eventually the birdies came.”

Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson, England’s Seve Benson, Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay were all on six under, with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters another shot back and overnight leader Julien Quesne four under after struggling to a 76.

Ramsay, who was named European Tour player of the month for March on Friday after his win in the Hassan Trophy, said: “When you’re down the stretch that’s when the pressure comes on and that’s when I love it.

“Obviously with the win recently I know how to deal with it and even if things aren’t going well I know how to deal with it, which is probably the most important thing; you’ve got to grind through that. I’m looking forward to the back nine on Sunday.”

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Howell, Hendry and Dredge share lead at China Open

Barny 23/04/2015
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Hendry, Dredge and Howell share lead after day one of China Open tied on four-under-par at the top of the leaderboard following round one of the European Tour's China Open on Thursday (23 April).









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