Young talent Joohyung Kim of Korea will have a point to prove when he makes his second straight appearance at the prestigious Thailand Open, which gets underway at the Thai Country Club on Thursday.
Kim, the youngest player in the 144-man field this week at 17 years old, won his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title this season at the RAYA Pakistan Open two weeks ago to earn playing rights for the remainder of the 2019 Asian Tour season.
The young Korean showed his worth with his quick rise through the ADT and proved himself to be one of the genuine title contenders at the US$300,000 event, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Thailand Golf Association.
After missing the mark at the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School last December, Kim switched his focus to the ADT where he has enjoyed great successes with three wins over five months and six other top-10 finishes. He leads the ADT Order of Merit with a haul of US$59,451.
Kim, who is based in Bangkok with his family, will feature in the Kingdom’s national Open alongside Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat and Poom Saksansin, who came in first and second respectively last year, as well as newly crowned Asian Tour champion Suradit Yongcharoenchai.
“I think if I can play my ‘A’ game and hit some good shots out there, I should be able to put up a good result this week. I wouldn’t say I am super confident about this week but I am indeed very excited." – Joohyung Kim
“I think if I can play my ‘A’ game and hit some good shots out there, I should be able to put up a good result this week. I wouldn’t say I am super confident about this week but I am indeed very excited,” Kim said.
India’s Rashid Khan hopes to recover lost grounds this week after enduring several near misses for his third Asian Tour title and first since 2014. Sitting in 243rd place on the Official World Golf Ranking, Khan is the highest-ranked player in the field.
“I came close a couple of times and even though I didn’t win, I took a lot of positives from the near misses,” Khan said.
“It’s been a few years since I last won. I want to try and win again.”
The Thailand Open will also kick off the third edition of the Asian Tour’s 2019/20 Panasonic Swing, which is a ranking based on an aggregate point race that spans five events with the final top-three players chasing a share of a lucrative bonus pool.