Tuesday 17th April 2018
Champion twice in the last four years, Alex Levy will have a unique hat-trick in sight when he tees up for the defence of his Volvo China Open title at the Topwin Golf & Country Club from April 26 to 29.
Last year at the same event, the 27-year-old Frenchman won the fourth European Tour title of his career seeing off South Africa’s Dylan Fritelli in a play-off. This year, he returns to the same venue looking to create a unique piece of golfing history in one of the sport’s fastest growing nations.
No other golfer has won the title twice never mind three times so perhaps there is some significance in the 20 million RMB being staged in the shadow of the Great Wall at the Topwin Golf & Country Club for a third successive year and that the tournament is now a tri-sanctioned event between The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association.
“Playing in China obviously agrees with me,” said Levy. “It’s a lucky country for me and not only at the Volvo China Open as I’ve also finished seventh, third and fourth at other tournaments here so there’s no doubt that I like the place. Winning last year in China was definitely a different feeling from 2014 because your first win is always special.
“After you’ve got that first title, you always feel the same when you are under pressure – but the pressure is much easier to handle if you’ve already won a tournament. You just need to remember that feeling.”
Levy first underlined his love of China’s fairways and greens when shooting a superb course record 62 on his way to a four-shot win over England’s Tommy Fleetwood at the Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club in 2014.
That first professional win for the Frenchman was the first of his four European Tour titles to date and firmly established him as one of the new breed of up-and-coming young players on one of the world’s most competitive tours.
Currently 65th on the Official Golf World Ranking and 24th in The Race to Dubai, Levy has enjoyed a solid start to the 2018 season with three top ten finishes from events staged in the Middle East. His performances in Dubai (4th), Oman (tied 4th) and Abu Dhabi (7th) have given him a boost as he sets his goals for the rest of the year.
“I’ve played well since the start of the season,” he said. “I’m happy with the way I’m working, the way I’m swinging and the way I’m playing. It’s a good time for me. I think it’s the best I’ve been swinging in my career, so I just enjoy it and try to hit the best shots I can.”
The most obvious target for Levy is a place on the European Team when the Ryder Cup makes its debut in Paris at Le Golf National in September. Every French professional will want to be one of the 12 players representing Europe in Paris this year and Levy certainly did himself no harm by shooting a course record 63 at Topwin Golf & Country Club when playing alongside European captain Thomas Bjorn just 12 months ago.
“I’d be lying if I said the Ryder Cup isn’t a target for me,” added Levy. “It would be a dream to play in the Ryder Cup in France and I will be doing all I can to make the team.”
If Levy were to pick up the famous Volvo China Open Scandinavian Horizon trophy for an unprecedented third time, he would be well on course for a 2018 Ryder Cup charge.