Already into its 2006 schedule, this is the third event of the new season and last in China before the tour heads into South Africa for a pair of events to close out the year.
Starting with David Howell's victory at the HSBC Champions Tournament, and followed up by Paul Casey's win at last week's Volvo China Open, Englishmen have captured the first to starts of the year. Howell is not entered in the field but his countryman Casey is and will look to continue his fine play in Asian events.
It was Casey's second victory in China following his win at the TCL Classic in March. Casey now has five European Tour titles in his young career.
Casey will have plenty of competition, however, including defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez and reigning Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie.
Jimenez held off a hard-charging Padraig Harrington last year for his 12th European Tour title. It was his fifth victory in the 2004 calender year.
Montgomerie will be looking to get off to a good start for 2006 in search of an unprecedented ninth Order of Merit title. Having won the money title seven straight years back in the 90s, Monty reclaimed the title this year on the strength of his win at the dunhill links championship and his runner-up finish at the British Open at St. Andrews.
Past champions of this event include Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and current European Ryder Cup Captain Ian Woosnam.
The Golf Channel will air all four rounds live beginning early Thursday morning at 1 a.m. (ET).