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Edfors relishing China return

( Updated: 2014-10-09 15:05

Edfors relishing China return

File photo of Johan Edfors. [Photo/Agencies]

A pain-free Johan Edfors is looking to use next week's inaugural Shankai Classic as a launch pad for a strong finish to his European Challenge Tour season.

The 38-year-old Swede, a three-time European Tour champion, has suffered with a shoulder injury and sciatic nerve damage over the past two years, but believes he has what it takes to claim his first victory since the Asian Tour’s 2009 Black Mountain Masters.

"I had to play for a long time on painkillers, but it’s getting a lot better," said Edfors, who finished 10th on the European Tour’s Order of Merit in 2006 after claiming three titles in a sizzling season. "I’ve been pain-free for about two months now, which has allowed me to practice a lot more. I’m feeling good and really looking forward to the week ahead in Chongqing."

Edfors, who lies 59th on the Challenge Tour rankings, says his game is turning around and although he admits he still has work to do, he always relishes the opportunity to play in China, which holds many happy memories.

"I always enjoy playing in China," said the long-hitting Edfors, who has a season-best finish of tied-for-seventh at the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal in May.

"The TCL Classic (staged on the Chinese resort island of Hainan) was my first European Tour win and the courses we play are always really good and the events are always well organized. I’m sure next week will be the same. It’s going to be great to be back."

The $350,000 Shankai Classic presented by IDG Capital Partners will be staged from October 16-19 at Chongqing’s Poly Golf Club and feature a strong field of Challenge Tour pros and local Chinese talent.

Those expected to feature prominently include Korea’s An Byeong-hun, currently fourth in the Challenge Tour rankings, and rising British star Matthew Fitzpatrick, the 2013 US Amateur champion who turned pro in the summer.

Edfors, who spends 10 weeks a year in Hua Hin, Thailand, added that he has been inspired by Oliver Wilson's win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland last weekend. The Englishman, who had been going through a lackluster season on the Challenge Tour, received an invitation to play in the event at St Andrews and recorded his maiden European Tour victory and with it a check for more than €625,000.

"I've played a lot with Oli over the years and I was very happy to see him back where he belongs," said Edfors. "Golf is a funny game – a lot can change in the course of a week – but his win is definitely inspiring to me and could be the kick up the backside that I need."

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