Aphibarnrat grouped with Watson at scene of emotional triumph

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Bubba Watson is the standout name in the field at the Shenzhen International as the two-time Masters champion makes his return to the European Tour.

The world number four last played a non-major European Tour event at the same competition last year, but was only able to post a tied-29th finish.

Watson has been grouped with Thai player Kiradech Aphibarnrat -  who won the tournament in 2015 - and Dou Zecheng - as the American searches for his second win of 2016.

 

APHIBARNRAT, LUITEN LOOK TO CONTINUE STRONG SHOWINGS

Not only does Aphibarnrat come into the event as defending champion, he also visits the Genzon Golf Club with form on his side having finished tied 15th at the Masters, a performance that followed up a tied-18th showing at the WGC-Dell Match Play and a tied-sixth display at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Joost Luiten also heads to China with momentum, the Dutchman took second in the Open de Espana last week at a Valderrama course on which no player was able to finish level par and has four top-10 finishes to his name in 2016.

 

TEE SHOTS THE KEY TO GENZON SUCCESS

The Genzon course encircles a large lake and has generously wide fairways. Although tree-lined, the last seven holes are open, with Alexander Levy - winner at the venue in the 2014 China Open - pointing to straight shots off the tee as the reason for his success.

 

LI LOOKS TO GO ONE BETTER

Li Haotong is seen as one of the rising stars of the sport, a reputation justified as he finished level with Jordan Spieth in tied seventh at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November. But the world number 229 suffered agony in last year's Shenzhen International, losing a play-off to Aphibarnrat. If he can one better this time around, then the 20-year-old's profile will surely begin to grow.

 

MORE APHIBARNRAT HEROICS TO COME?

Aphibarnrat trailed Li by two shots heading onto the 17th in last year's final round. However, he produced a stunning eagle to draw level and then birdied the first play-off hole to clinch an emotional victory after a period that saw him struggle following the death of his coach in 2013.

 

CAN JIMENEZ SEAL MORE FAR EAST ELATION?

Miguel Angel Jimenez will play in his 673rd European Tour event at the Shenzhen International. The Spaniard boasts a record six Tour wins in the Far East but will need an upturn in form in order to make it seven having missed his last three cuts.

 

FLEETWOOD INSPIRED BY WILLETT'S AUGUSTA WIN

For Tommy Fleetwood, who finished third last year, compatriot Danny Willett's win in the Masters is serving as the perfect inspiration as he looks to turn his fortunes around having not won since 2013.

"I think he [Willett] goes about his business very well and you can learn a lot from him," Fleetwood said. "He's just put his name in history. If I can repeat him in a year or two, I'll be very happy.

"When you know somebody that's done it and you've played with them, it obviously gives you a massive motivation to go on and try and do that yourself."