By THE NATION
The 17-year-old, who will be making his debut at the Singapore showpiece, announced his arrival on the world stage with his maiden Asian Tour win in India last year after showing similar heroics on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he won thrice then.
Kim will be up against some of the biggest names in world golf including Major winners Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, American Matt Kuchar, a multiple winner on the PGA Tour, as well as Asian Tour Order of Merit champion and defending champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, all ranked inside top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I’m very excited. There’s Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson in the field. It’s going to be a tough field to beat and it’s going to be a week where you can get a chance to qualify for The Open if you play well.
“I’ve not played at the Serapong course before. I am looking forward to it. The players are telling me that it’s in spectacular condition, so I am really excited,” said Kim, who finished in 25th place on the 2019 Order of Merit, thanks to one win and two top-10s in only five starts.
Kim will feature in the elite 156-man field from 22 countries alongside 54 other Tour winners, which include five former winners of the prestigious Singapore Open. A total of four Order of Merit champions will also tee up in the event, which was voted by the Asian Tour players as the Tournament of the year in 2019.
The Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course also received the accolade of being the players’ choice Golf Course of the year at the 2019 Asian Tour Awards Gala held earlier in Hong Kong this week.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation, the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open will take place from January 16 to 19 next week and it will continue to be part of The Open Qualifying Series for the fourth consecutive year.
The leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties on the final leaderboard will earn coveted spots at the 149th Open at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent, England from July 16-19.
The qualifier of 18 holes stroke play will be played on Monday, January 13, at the New Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. Top 3 places will qualify directly into the SMBC Singapore Open. Ties for last qualifying places will be decided by hole-by-hole playoff.