SHAH ALAM, Selangor: Korean Teen wonder Joohyung Kim will resume his bid for a second Asian Tour title when he makes his maiden appearance at the Bandar Malaysia Open, which gets underway at the highly rated Kota Permai Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
The talented 17-year-old, who came close to winning in New Zealand last week before settling for fourth, hopes to make amends by putting up a strong title assault at the storied event, which returns to the Asian Tour this week after a four-year hiatus.
Kim made his mark on the region’s premier Tour when he claimed his breakthrough in India last November, just a month after securing his third victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last season to earn his Asian Tour card for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Prior to his solid fourth-place finish in New Zealand, the talented Kim also enjoyed a fourth-place result at the Singapore Open in January to secure his berth at The 149th Open at St. George’s this July where he will be making his Major debut.
Order of Merit leader Wade Ormsby, who also came in top-10 in New Zealand last week, is looking to extend his fine form into the US$1 million event, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
The 39-year-old Australian endured a slight dip in form after winning his third Asian Tour title at the season-opener in Hong Kong but was pleased to rediscover his ‘A’ game just in time for his sixth appearance at the Malaysian Open, where he came in tied-11th in 2015.
Korea veteran Charlie Wi, who has won seven Asian Tour titles including the 2006 Malaysian Open, hailed the emergence of young talents such as Kim and reckoned they should be the players to look out for when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.
Wi returned to play on the Asian Tour after a five-year absence at the Hong Kong Open two months ago and came in tied-seventh. He denied Thai star Thongchai Jaidee of a record third straight victory in the event when he sank a 10-footer for birdie on the last to win by one shot in 2006.
No fewer than 18 golfers from Thailand will tee it up at the Open, led by Pavit Tangkamolprasert who finished in a creditable 11th place at last week’s New Zealand Open.