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Top Europeans heading for China Open

Ryder Cup stars Paul McGinley and David Howell will headline the Volvo China Open later this month along with former British Open champion Paul Lawrie and six of this season's winners from the European Tour.

Howell is coming off his best ever season as a professional, finishing 10th on the Volvo Order of Merit with 10 top-10 outings and capping his season by featuring in the victorious European team at the Ryder Cup against the United States in September.

Ryder Cup teammate McGinley enjoyed another stellar season with eight top-10 finishes and could well challenge for the Volvo China Open title at Shanghai Silport Golf Club from November 25-28.

Other top names who have entered for the US$1 million championship, jointly sanctioned for the first time by the Asian and European Tours, include 1999 British Open champion Lawrie and England's Brian Davis, Barry Lane and Gary Emerson, Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, Scotland's Stephen Gallagher and South African Richard Sterne, all whom have tasted success on the European Tour this year.

"We are delighted to welcome two of Europe 's Ryder Cup heroes to the Volvo China Open," said Mel Pyatt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Event Management.

"David Howell and Paul McGinley have enjoyed strong seasons and we look forward to having them tee up at Shanghai Silport. The field from the European Tour is a strong one with many of this year's winners signing up and we can all expect some world-class golf."

This year's Volvo China Open is celebrating its 10th anniversary and apart from the line-up of stars from the Asian and European Tours, Volvo have also invited all former champions to tee up this year to commemorate the occasion.

Amongst Howell's top-10s include a tied 10th finish at the recent Volvo Masters Andalucia in Spain . In September, he won the Shot of the Month award on the European Tour for his brilliant tee shot in Saturday morning's fourball session in the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills , Michigan .

Howell and fellow countryman, Paul Casey were one down with two holes to play against Americans Chad Campbell and Jim Furyk and he then proceeded to strike a nerveless six iron from 203 yards to within five feet of the hole and rolled in the putt for a birdie two to square the match. The Europeans then won the final hole to secure a victory which proved pivotal in the outcome of the Matches.

McGinley rolled in the winning putt in the previous Ryder Cup in The De Vere Belfry two years ago and was rock steady in this year's campaign, winning 2 ½ points from out of three matches. He came close to adding to his three career wins by finishing second in the Dubai Desert Classic and KLM Open. He was also sixth in the US PGA Championship, the year's final Major and many believe that a Major victory could be around the corner for McGinley.

Scotsman Lawrie aims to relaunch his career after overcoming a neck injury which saw him being sidelined in July and August. The five-time winner earned international acclaim when he won the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999. He also won the 2001 Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland .

Amongst the other contenders include McDowell, winner of this year's Italian open. With nine other top-10s, he finished in a commendable sixth place on the Order of Merit in what was only his third full season in Europe .

Volvo events bring good memories for the 25-year-old McDowell as his first European Tour triumph came in his fourth start as a professional at the 2002 Volvo Scandinavaian Masters.

Another rising star from Europe headed for the Volvo China Open is Stephen Gallagher, who is the nephew of former Europe Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallagher. Stephen broke through in style for his first victory with a play-off success in the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland where he beat McDowell.

The 44-year-old Lane is hoping to stay on the fast track after a momentous season. He claimed his first title in 10 years at the British Masters and capped a career milestone of 500 appearances on the European Tour this year.

Another 44-year-old, Scotland 's Andrew Oldcorn will also be looking to weave some Volvo magic once again. It was in the 2001 Volvo PGA Championship that he secured his biggest breakthrough, winning the event ahead of Angel Cabrera and Nick Faldo.

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