The best golfers from Korea and Japan are set to battle it out in Japan.
A total of 144 golfers from across Asia have entered the field for the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s Hana Bank Invitational (KRW 1 billion in prize money), which begins today at Chiba Isumi Golf Club (Par 73) in Japan. The field includes the winners of the past five years of the tournament, the top five finishers from last year’s event, 14 recommended players, 60 Korean Tour seeding priorities and 60 Japan Professional Golf Tour (JGTO) seeding priorities.
The KPGA will be represented by defending champion Lee Jun-seok, Genesis Points leader Lee Jae-kyung, money list leader Chung Chan-min, 11-time winner Park Sang-hyun, and Hana Financial Group members Ham Jeong-woo, Park Eun-shin, and Lee Seung-min. The JGTO roster is also impressive. Veteran Mikumu Horikawa, who has four career wins on the JGTO, will be among the top players on the money list, including this season’s Mercedes-Benz points leader Taiga Semikawa and last week’s tournament winner Keita Nakajima. In particular, the likes of Chung Chan-min, Choi Seung-bin and Lee Jae-kyung, who are leading the Korean-Japanese golf surge, along with Semikawa and Nakajima, have created an intriguing competition.
At a press conference on Thursday, one day before the tournament began, the Korean and Japanese golfers vowed to win. Lee Joon-seok, who is going for his second consecutive title, said, “It’s meaningful that this tournament is being held overseas,” adding, “As the defending champion, I will maintain my form and perform well this year.”
Ham Jeong-woo said, “I’m grateful to be able to play in a tournament in Japan as a member of the team. I want to lift the trophy,” while Park Eun-shin said, “I got greedy last year and it didn’t help. If I take it easy and focus on my golf, good results will follow.”
“It’s been a long time since Korean and Japanese players have been together in the same place,” said veteran Park Sang-hyun, “and there’s been a lot of generational change on both sides. It’s an honor just to be able to compete with the younger players. I will do my best 메이저사이트.”
Japan’s ‘young blood’ Nakajima said, “I’m happy that there are many players of the same age that I fought against in Korea at the Nationals, and I will try to win this time.” “It’s a good motivation to play against players I haven’t played against before and a chance to see what I’m capable of,” said 2001-born Semikawa, who won two titles as an amateur last year.
The tournament will also feature the longest course on the KPGA Korean Tour this season and will be home to a long-hitting showdown between Korea’s Chan Min Chung and Riki Kawamoto. Chung, known as the “Yon Ram” of Korea, leads the Korean Tour in average driving distance at 324.572 yards. Kawamoto is also first in the average driving distance category at 317.85 yards. Park said, “The course is long and the greens and fairways are soft. Carry will be important, and how well you control your backspin will be key,” said Park.