Full of Confidence Dodd Defends in China


2005 Volve China OpenFresh off his win at the World Cup in Portugal, Stephen Dodd travels halfway around the globe and into China to defend his title at the Volvo China Open at the Shenzhen Golf Club.
Dodd, 39, has quietly put together the best season of his 15-year career with bookend victories at last year's Volvo China Open and ending with his partnership win with Bradley Dredge for his home country of Wales at the Algarve World Cup. He also added another tournament win over David Howell at the Irish Open in May.
Ranked a dismal 229th coming into this event last year, Dodd has risen to 75th in the world rankings and placed a personal best 17th on the European Tour's Order of Merit for the 2005 season.
Joining Dodd in China will be a smattering of well-known names in the likes of Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty and Thomas Levet.
Casey, a four time winner on The European Tour, is comfortable in China as shown by his victory in the country at last year's TCL Classic.
Dougherty, too, has had success in the region by way of his win at the Caltex Masters in Singapore last January. It was Dougherty's first ever victory on tour.
Host country favorite Lian-Wei Zhang also is in the field hoping to recapture some of the magic he turned in two years ago in this event.
Tied with Ernie Els at the 72nd hole, Zhang rolled in a birdie putt to beat Els by one and in the process became the first Chinese golfer to win on the European Tour.
The Volvo China Open offers a purse of $1,200,000 with $217,000 going to the winner. The tournament is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour.
It will be one of five tournaments on the 2006 schedule that will be played before the end of the year. This week's event will be followed by the UBS Hong Kong Open next week before the tour heads to South Africa for the Dunhill Championship and the South African Airways Open.
The event is in its 11th year and is one of six events in China on the 2006 European Tour schedule.
Related links:
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  • Full Coverage - Volvo China Open