Pieces look in place for Poulter
David John says there are solid reasons to get behind Ian Poulter's challenge this week in the Volvo China Open.
- Related Content
There will be celebrations aplenty on the 20th anniversary of the Volvo China Open with a new venue to boot for players and punters to try and unravel.
The Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen is just across the border from Hong Kong so expect very similar conditions in that respect in terms of climate but the course, although tree-lined in parts, gives the impression of having more space as it winds its way around the Dragon Lake.
Ian Poulter may not be much in the way of a working man's price at 10/1 but he strikes me as someone who will go well this week and you can build a pretty sound case for his chances.
- 4pts win Ian Poulter at 10/1 (General) - making all the right noises about his game and excels in the Far East
- 1pt e.w. Wade Ormsby at 80/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - playing great and can join the list of Aussies to go close in 2014
- 1pt e.w. Mark Brown at 150/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - good effort on last start in China and encouraging signs of late
Poulter is primarily based in the USA these days so I always think he is very much worth a second look when he turns up on the European Tour outside of the very biggest events.
He has a proven record of performing well in this part of the world as the last time he was in China, he chased home Dustin Johnson in a thrilling three-way battle for the WGC-HSBC Champions when defending his title while he is also a past winner at Fanling just across the border in Hong Kong.
He was talking a very good game at the Masters a fortnight ago and seemed incredibly enthused with the way he was swinging the golf club - "phenomenal" was his actual quote - but it was to be another week of major championship disappointment.
He failed to convert having got himself into a decent position in the early stages of his round on Saturday before fading out of the picture on the final day with a rather lacklustre 74. I really thought he may have made a surge into contention for a place finish at least.
This sort of step down in class normally means Poulter feels he can dominate, or at the very least contend strongly, and with Lee Westwood showing him the way home in a similar situation at the Maybank Malaysia Open, I am sure he will take plenty of inspiration from his compatriot's victory.
I'm confident of a bold show so he merits a win-only wager while the each-way votes this week go to Wade Ormsby and Mark Brown.
Both hail from Australasia and Ormsby is certainly a player who I have kept an eye on this season with an extremely consistent run of form that has seen him make his last seven cuts.
He has two top-10 performances during that run and the real eye-catcher is a T8 in Hong Kong prior to Christmas. As I said, I don't think a direct correlation can be made between the layout at Fanling and Genzon but Ormsby should have some positive memories coming back to this region.
Throw in as well the successes of compatriots John Senden, Steve Bowditch and Matt Jones in the USA and there is another angle on the mental side of the game that Ormsby can look to as he attempts to get into the winner's enclosure.
Even if you are a non-believer along that route, then his current form is extremely good with T5-T18 in Morocco and Malaysia. While he has admitted in the past that he is better suited by courses that require less length from the tee, 7,145 yards is not a golfing behemoth by any stretch of the imagination these days.
Brown has not shown much in Europe since winning the Johnnie Walker Classic back in 2008 but he has plenty of experience playing in Asia and I was suitably encouraged by a runner-up finish at the NZ Open in early March.
This is obviously a sterner examination and things did not quite pan out how he would have liked as he eventually finished second to Dimi Papadatos by four shots but he spoke after round three about how well he had putted and that it was the best he had felt all year.
He has since missed the cut by a shot in Indonesia but I have some faith that he is moving in the right direction and his last trip to China in Poulter's WGC event mentioned earlier produced a pretty creditable T34 in a much better field.