Na walks down memory lane at Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship
Cheonan, Korea, June 20: Korean-American Kevin Na will be taking a walk down memory lane when he tees up for the Kolon-Korea Open Golf Championship which starts on Thursday.
World number 63 Na, is the highest ranked player this week and he makes no bones that he is returning to the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club as a much improved player having started his career on the Asian Tour more than a decade ago.
The 34-year-old finished tied-13 at the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship last year and has also enjoyed two top-five results on the PGA TOUR this year.
While eager to make an impression with the home crowd, Na is also delighted he has the opportunity to catch up with old friends again as the Korea’s National Open makes it return to the Asian Tour Schedule for the first time in 10 years.
Korea’s Sangmoon Bae is hoping to rediscover his winning form at a tournament which he has won twice.
Having spent two years away from competitive golf with his military obligations, Bae is trying to find his rhythm again and establish himself as one of the genuine contenders at the KR₩1,200,000,000 (approx. US$1,125,000) event.
Defending champion and Asian Tour member Yikuen Chang of Korea is determined to make up for the heartache of missing out on another home win last month.
With the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship being part of The Open Qualifying Series this year, Chang is also eager to play his way to the world’s oldest Major and rub shoulders with the world’s best players again.
Did you know?
· Kevin Na started his career on the Asian Tour. In only nine tournaments in 2002, he had five top-10 finishes, including a win at the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia.
· Na immigrated with his family to the United States when he was eight years old and he is now a naturalised American citizen.
· He won his first PGA Tour title in 2011 and reached a career high of 19th position on the Official World Golf Rankings in 2015.
· Sangmoon Bae won the Kolon Korea Open twice in 2008 and 2009.
· He spent two years as a rifleman in the army before he was discharged in August last year.
· Bae is a three-time Asian Tour winner and has also won twice on the PGA TOUR.
· Chang topped the class at the 2016 Asian Tour Qualifying School which was his event since turning professional.
· Chang prevailed in a three-hole aggregate play-off last year, defeating compatriot Giwhan Kim with a par-birdie-double-bogey. He started his final round two shots back of Kim.
· Chang is the first multiple winner on his local tour since 2007.
· He bowed out in a four-man play-off at the 37th GS Caltex Maekyung Open last month.
· The Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korean Golf Association and is also part of The Open Qualifying Series.
· Two spots will be awarded to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties in the event.