Yang looking to become first player to defend Volvo China Open title

By PA Sport
Published on

Defending Volvo China Open champion Y.E. Yang is confident he can enter the record books by becoming the first man to retain the title.

The 17th Volvo China Open swings into action on Thursday and is headlined by Yang and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, who will be hoping to get his season back on track.

Big names such as Sergio Garcia and Ryder Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie are also set to be in action at the Luxehills International Country Club with both also looking to turn around their recent form.

Despite the competitive field, Korea’s Yang, currently ranked 35th in the world, believes he can secure back-to-back successes.

"It is always important that a player defends any title he wins, out of respect for the championship and its sponsors, so I am pleased to be returning to China where I have already won twice," he said. "I know the Volvo China Open title has never been successfully defended, but there is a first time for everything."

However, he will face fierce competition from Harrington, who will be looking to kick-start his season after two missed cuts in his past three events.

"I have always enjoyed playing in China and have been made to feel incredibly welcome," said the Irishman. "I have won before on Chinese soil in the 2004 Hong Kong Open and would love to make it another by capturing the Volvo China Open."

China's top-ranked golfer, Liang Wenchong, will be hoping to shine as he carries the flag of the host country.

The 32-year-old Liang won a tournament at the Luxehills International Country Club last year and believes that his local knowledge can act in his favor as he aims to be the first Chinese player to win the tournament.

"I feel fresh, relaxed and on top of my game, but if I'm to win against a world-class field, I will have to play my very best," he said.

"The support I will receive from my home crowd will hopefully inspire me to achieve what would be my most important victory so far, because every golfer naturally wants to win his national open,” he added. "Winning would be something very special."