Former champ Gleeson aims to relive glory days at China Open

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 February, 2011, 12:00am

Australia's David Gleeson heads a field of 85 players entered for this week's Volvo China Open international qualifying event, which will be played over 36 holes at Discovery Bay Golf Club today and tomorrow.

Gleeson, 33, the Australian Amateur champion in 1996, won the Volvo China Open at Silport Golf Club in Shanghai in 2002, his breakthrough year as a professional. His form dipped because of a swing change, but the Queenslander found form again in 2008, winning the Macau Open and pocketing almost US$500,000 in earnings to finish fifth on the Asian Tour order of merit that year.

Also in the field at Discovery Bay will be former US PGA Tour player Jerry Smith. Smith, 46, played on the Asian Tour for several years before claiming his US PGA Tour card and recorded three professional victories, including a win on the Volvo China Tour in 1997.

Local interest this week comes in the form of Steven Lam Tsz-fung, Jimmy Ko Ming-chak and 14 mainland players.

Hong-Kong based Briton James Stewart withdrew because of business commitments.

Three further qualifying events will be played next month in Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianjin.

A total of 13 players will win through to the Volvo China Open, with four qualifiers coming from the Discovery Bay event.

The Volvo China Open will take place at Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu from April 21-24. This year's prize fund has been increased 20 per cent to US$3 million, with the winner collecting almost US$500,000.

Rich round

The total prize money for the Volvo China Open, in US dollars, is: 3m