Chikkarangappa leads Indian charge at Korea Open

S Chikkarangappa, Khalin Joshi, Viraj Madappa, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Rahil Gangjee underline a strong Indian interest in the Korea Open this week

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Asian Tour Release, 18 June 2019: In-form Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe will be looking to extend his winning run when he returns to challenge for his maiden Asian Tour title at the 62nd edition of the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship which starts on Thursday. S Chikkarangappa leads the Indian charge as Ajeetesh Sandhu, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi and Rahil Gangjee look to make a strong impression soon as the Asian Tour resumes its 2019 journey.

Buoyed by his first international victory on the Japan Challenge Tour last week, the 27-year-old Vincent, who has been plying his trade in Asia since coming through the Qualifying School in 2016, is eyeing another career milestone at the highly rated Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.

Vincent, the highest-ranked Zimbabwean on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), hopes to continue his affinity with Korea by clinching his long-overdue Asian Tour win in the Land of the Morning Calm, where he had capped three top-three results in his last five starts.

He will feature in the talented 144-man field alongside Order of Merit leader Scott Hend of Australia, Thai rising star Jazz Janewattananond, Korean American Kevin Na, a three-time PGA TOUR winner, as well as Korean golf sensation Hosung Choi.

Minchel Choi of Korea will also be seeking a successful title defence at his National Open, which will once again be part of The Open Qualifying Series, where two spots will be awarded to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties.

Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand, who secured a victory on home soil two weeks ago, hopes to turn his season around by keeping up his good form when he gets his campaign underway at the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship.

The Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korea Golf Association (KGA), is the second of the three Asian Tour events to be played in Korea this year.

Did you know?

  • Scott Vincent, the only Zimbabwean member on Tour, has notched two top-10s in Australia and Japan to sit in ninth place on the latest Order of Merit. He has not missed a single cut in six starts so far this season.
  • In his last five Asian Tour starts in Korea, Vincent has capped three top-three results, including a runner-finish in his rookie season in 2016. He was crowned the Rookie of the Year after ending his season in 28th place on the Order of Merit.
  • Since securing his Asian Tour card in his first attempt at the Qualifying School in 2016, Vincent has come close to claiming his maiden win on multiple occasions.
  • In 2018, Vincent secured a total of nine top-10 finishes, including three runner-up results, to finish in a career-high fifth place on the money list.
  • In 2018, Vincent also represented Zimbabwe alongside compatriot Benjamin Follett-Smith for the first time at the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf
  • He sits in 150th place on the latest OWGR and is currently the highest ranked player from Zimbabwe.
  • Minchel Choi of Korea birdied the last hole to win by two shots over countryman Sanghyun Park for his breakthrough victory 12 months ago. He made his Major debut at The Open at Carnoustie, thanks to his win.
  • Choi turned professional in 2009. He went to New Zealand when he was 14 to pursue his studies and golf training. But had to return to Korea early because his family could not afford his studies fees in New Zealand anymore.
  • Choi has made only three cuts in six starts so far this season. His best result since winning is a tied-26th place finish at the 2018 Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
  • Tirawat Kaewsiribandit is a one-time winner on both the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
  • Tirawat secured his first ADT victory in style at the 2017 Betagro All Thailand Championship, battling through a back injury to close with three straight birdies and win the title by three shots. Similarly, he had to overcome a back ailment before winning his maiden Asian Tour title at the 2018 UMA CNS Open Golf Championship in Pakistan.