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Golf: Bubba Watson to follow Masters with Shenzhen debut

Masters champion Bubba Watson will be a star attraction in Shenzhen. Photo: Getty Images.

Bubba Watson will be a star attraction in Shenzhen following his Masters defence. Photo: Getty Images.

March 16, 2015: Bubba Watson will return to China for the first time since winning last year’s WGC-HSBC Champions when the two-time Masters champion competes in The European Tour’s inaugural Shenzhen International.

 

The World No. 2, who won the Masters Tournament in both 2012 and 2014, will be aiming to secure consecutive victories on Chinese soil when he tees it up in the US$2.5 million tournament – which will be held from April 16-19 – after he attempts to win a third Green Jacket at Augusta National.

 

Watson, 36, won last November’s WGC-HSBC Champions title in Shanghai in spectacular fashion, holing a bunker shot on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Tim Clark, which he won courtesy of a birdie on the first extra hole.

 

Five months on, the American will make his first appearance in a regular European Tour event for four years at the Shenzhen International, which takes place on the Neil Haworth-designed course at Genzon Golf Club, in the Longgang district of Shenzhen.

 

“This is a great opportunity for me to come back to China and play in a new event, which will make a big contribution to the development of golf in southern China. I’m looking forward to coming to Shenzhen next month and playing my part in making some history,” Watson said.

 

“I finished third in the WGC-Cadillac Championship and my season’s got off to a pretty solid start overall, but I’m still looking for my first win in 2015. I’ll be doing my best to make it a hat-trick of wins at the Masters, but back-to-back victories in China would be pretty special, too.”

 

Watson has four victories on the PGA Tour, in addition to his wins in the Masters Tournament and the WGC-HSBC Champions. His last appearance in a regular European Tour event came in the 2011 Nordea Masters, where he finished in a tie for sixth place behind Alex Noren.

 

Fei Hailong, General Manager of Genzon Golf Club, said: “At the launch of this tournament we made a promise that the first edition of the Shenzhen International would feature world-class players, and we have kept that promise. A two-time Masters champion and now ranked second in the world, Bubba Watson is not only a world-class golfer but someone whose appeal transcends the sport.

 

“Bubba’s participation in the tournament sends a very strong message to the international golfing community about just how serious we are about establishing the Shenzhen International as one of the region’s leading elite golf tournaments.”

 

The field for the Shenzhen International will comprise 100 players from The European Tour, 50 from the CGA (China Golf Association) and six sponsors’ invitations.

 

The tournament, which will be promoted by IMG, is the first of four events being held in China as part of this season’s European Tour.

 

For more information, visit: www.shenzhenintl.com

 

Source: The European Tour (www.europeantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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