2018 Queen's Cup

By BGB Staff Writer
BANGKOK, Thailand: Korean-American Sihwan Kim closed with four straight birdies to grab a three-shot lead alongside playing partner Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand at the halfway stage of the Queen’s Cup presented by Bangchak on Friday.

The blazing finish saw Kim, the highest-ranked Asian Tour player in the field, sign for a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 and a 12-under-par 130 total to match the efforts of Jazz, who posted a 66, at the highly-rated Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.

I just focused on playing my own game. I missed a couple of putts on my opening three holes. I should have make birdies there. I will keep things the same and just go out and have fun tomorrow.

Jazz Janewattananond

Starting the round with a three-shot deficit, Kim nailed three birdies to turn in 32 before sinking four consecutive birdies from the sixth to grab a share of the lead at the US$300,000 event, which is celebrating its 10th straight edition on the Asian Tour.

Jazz, who trailed by one following an opening 64, extended his bogey-free run to 29 holes before dropping a lone bogey on the par-four third hole. He eventually gained it back with a birdie on his closing ninth hole.

Overnight leader Poom Saksansin of Thailand battled to a 70 to share third place with countryman Sattaya Supupramai (66), Filipino hotshot Miguel Tabuena (66) and Indian talent Gaganjeet Bhullar (65) on matching 133s.

The halfway cut was set at two-under-par 140 with a total of 76 players, including two local amateurs, progressing to the weekend rounds.

The Queen’s Cup, held in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, welcomed a new presenting sponsor in Bangchak Corporation, one of Thailand’s leading energy companies, this season.

Did you know?
– Sihwan Kim is the highest-ranked player in the field this week. He sits in seventh position on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, thanks to a current haul of US$231,694.
– Kim needed only 23 putts in his solid round of 64. He signed for a bogey-free round highlighted by seven birdies, including four straight ones to close his round.
– The 29-year-old Kim turned professional in 2011 and is currently ranked 247th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
– Kim was born in Seoul. His family moved to the United States in October 2000 when he was 11.
– Also a former standout from the Stanfort University who won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2004.
– Kim came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2017 and kept his card for the 2018 season after notching three top-10s to finish in 55th place on the final Order of Merit.
– Playing in only his second season on the Asian Tour, Kim claimed his first top-three result when he came in second runner-up at the Hero Indian Open earlier in March. He took home a prize money of US$109,550 to mark his career’s biggest pay cheque ever. He went on to finish tied-fourth at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in Japan the following month.
– Jazz will be making his Major debut at The Open at Carnoustie next month. He earned the coveted spot after finishing tied-fourth at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open, which was part of The Open Qualifying Series.
– Jazz missed only one cut in 10 starts on Tour to sit in a current 16th place on the 2018 Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings.
– He came in runner-up at the Queen’s Cup last year, finishing just one shot back of winner Nicholas Fung of Malaysia.
– Jazz won his first Asian Tour title at the 2017 Bangladesh Open by four shots. The victory was especially sweet for him as he finished outside the top-60 on the 2016 Order of Merit and missed the grade at the 2017 Qualifying School. He went on to notch five other top-10s to finish a career-high 13th place on the Order of Merit.