The Shenzhen International may take place in China but the trophy looks to have a great chance of heading to England this week. Both Ross Fisher and Tommy Fleetwood return to action following very different results at the Masters, but both will be much more suited now back on the European Tour.
The Shenzhen International looks like being a bit of a birdie fest this week, the tournament was won by 16 under last year, despite some bad weather. We could be in for more bad weather this year as storms are forecast for Thursday and Friday, although at the minute they are scheduled to hit early morning before play begins. Even if the bad weather does arrive, the course is easy enough to present plenty of scoring opportunities and this should be an exciting week of golf to watch.
Out of the two English challengers, Ross Fisher is my strongest fancy after showing good form on the tour before the Masters and performing with huge credit over at Augusta. He has had a week off after Augusta and looks primed for a big effort here which would see him go close in this field.
Prior to the Masters, Fisher put up two fantastic efforts which allowed him to qualify for the event. Firstly he finished third in the WGC Mexico Championship, a round which included a fantastic 65 on the final day. He then came fifth in the WGC Match Play event, which saw him pick up enough prize money to give him a shot at the Masters. He finished 41st at Augusta, struggling on the first day before gradually playing better each day after.
After two weeks to recover from the Masters and back in this lower quality field, Fisher looks to have a great chance to go close in this event and continue his very good recent run of form.
My second fancy this week is Tommy Fleetwood who like Fisher is having a good season. Fleetwood however, does have a victory to his name this year, although performed badly at the Masters. This field should be more to his taste and he should be another to go close this week.
Fleetwood won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships in January and has had a further two top three finishes in what is shaping up to be a fantastic year for the Englishman. He came second at the WGC Mexico Championship, one place ahead of Ross Fisher and also came third at the UBS Hong Kong Open, the first event of the season. His round at the WGC Mexico Championship was particularly impressive, shooting two rounds of 66 over the weekend to cement second place in what was a great week for him.
His performance at the Masters was below what many people expected from him and he eventually missed the cut. Scores of 78 and 74 were not good enough at Augusta, but fresh from a break and in a much weaker field back on the European circuit, Fleetwood looks to have a good chance here to pick up his second win of the season.
One other player to keep an eye on is Bubba Watson, who flies over to China just for this event. Bubba has played here twice, his long game suits the course and he obviously feels this is an event he can win and one that is worth travelling for. It is very rare we see him on the European tour and while I think the two Englishmen have better chances, Bubba travelling over for this event specifically is a tip in itself from the two-time Masters champion.