Joo takes early control at Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship
Cheonan, Korea, June 21: Korea’s Heungchol Joo set the early pace by posting an opening six-under-par 65 to grab the first round lead at the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship on Thursday.
Korean Amateur Seungtaek Oh showed he can also match up against the professionals by returning with a 66 to take outright second position while American Kevin Na ensured his homecoming got off to a good start when he signed for a 67 to trail Joo by two in equal third place at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.
Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas also got off to one of his best starts this season when he signed for a 68 to be bunched in tied-seventh place that includes Korea’s K.T. Kim and Sanghyun Park, who recently won on home soil last month.
Joo, who is chasing his fourth win on the Korean Tour and first on the Asian Tour, got off the blocks quickly when he reached the turn in 33 after carding four birdies and one bogey.
He extended his advantage with another birdie on 11 and had a closing eagle on 18 to thank for giving him the outright lead at the KR₩1,200,000,000 (approx. US$1,125,000) event.
Oh, who is part of the Korean national team, also showed his potential when he mixed his card with six birdies and two bogeys to stay close to Joo at the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship which is part of The Open Qualifying Series this year.
Na was delighted his patient approach paid off and believes he can mount a serious challenge as the week progresses.
Did you know?
· Heungchol Joo turned professional in 2006 and made his debut on the Korean Tour the following year.
· He holds three wins on the Korean Tour and his best result in 2018 was a tied-11 finish at the DB insurance Promy Open.
· Seungtaek Oh is a member of the Korean national golf team.
· He was the winner of the BEAR CREEK CUP Amateur Golf Championship in 2016
· Kevin Na is the highest ranked player at world number 63 this week. He finished tied-13th at the Kolon Korean Open Golf Championship last year.
· Pannakorn Uthaipas topped the Asian Development Tour Order of Merit title in 2017 to earn his Asian Tour card for 2018.
· He has missed the cut twice in six starts on the Asian Tour.