Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dodd to defend title at China Open


Stephen Dodd is set to defend his title at this week's China Open. Three ahead of the field at last years event, Dodd also went on to win his second Irish Open title in May, played an important role in Britain and Ireland's Seve Trophy success over Continental Europe, as well as clinching the rain-shortened WGC-World Cup in the Algarve.

The 39yr-old Welshman also finished the 2005 season with a career best of 17th in the European Tour Order of Merit.

Among his closest contenders for the second event on the 2006 European Tour schedule are Ryder Cup players Paul Casey and Thomas Levet, Thai duo Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant, India's Jyoti Randhawa and local favourite Lian-Wei Zhang.

This week's event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for the second year in a row, will be the first on the 2006 European schedule to operate with a 36-hole cut for the leading 65 professionals and ties.

The cut had stood at 70 and ties since the start of the 2000 season but the Tour decided on a change in response to negative feedback from its members and in a bid to improve television coverage of tournaments at weekends.

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