Asian Tour Release, 01 May 2019: India’s Chikkarangappa S. will continue his quest for a breakthrough victory on the Asian Tour when he tees off for The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship which starts on Thursday.
The talented 25-year-old arrived in the Land of the Morning Calm on the back of a rich vein of form, having claimed two victories on his domestic circuit and notched a solid top-10 finish on the Asian Tour to sit in current seventh position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
Chikka’s game has matured considerably over the years. A joint runner-up outing at the Mauritius Open last November, along with his fine run so far this season, have strengthened his belief that a breakthrough is imminent.
He will feature in the 144-man field alongside defending champion Sanghyun Park of Korea, who is chasing for an unprecedented treble, in the KR?1,200,000,000 (approx. US$1,067,000) event, which is celebrating its 38th edition this week.
Young Thai Phachara Khongwatmai, who turns 20 years old on Friday, plans to make his birthday week a memorable one as he looks to improve on his tied-12th place finish from 12 months ago at the fabled Namseoul Country Club.
Spaniard Javi Colomo endured a four-month layoff due to a shoulder injury before returning to competitive golf in Singapore earlier in January. Playing in his second start on Tour this season, Colomo is looking to get his game back on track with a fine performance in Korea.
Yikeun Chang of Korea is back seeking redemption in the event, where he had agonizingly missed out on his maiden Asian Tour win last year after being defeated by Park on the third play-off hole.
Other notable players include K.T. Kim of Korea, a two-time winner of the Maekyung Open, Thai duo Prom Meesawat and Danthai Boonma, as well as Australian Jason Norris and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.
The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship is the first of the three Asian Tour events to be played in Korea this season. It has been dominated by Koreans since 2005. American Mark Calcavecchia was the last foreigner to win the tournament in 2004.
The Namseoul Country Club was opened in 1971 and has been the host venue of the GS Caltex Maekyung Open since 1982 except for five occasions in 1984, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2006.
Did you know?
- Chikkarangappa golf player. sits in seventh place on the latest Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings with a current haul of US$77,128.
- He is enjoying a rich vein of form, claiming two victories on his domestic circuit and a tied-10th place finish at his National Open on the Asian Tour this season.
- Chikka, who started the season in 498th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), has risen to a current 272nd position, thanks to his solid results.
- He is also a two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
- The 25-year-old Indian came in tied-55th at the Maekyung Open last year. He is chasing a breakthrough win on the Asian Tour.
- Phachara Khongwatmai enjoyed a tied-12th place finish at the Maekyung Open last year.
- He became the youngest winner of a professional tournament when he won on home soil in July 2013 at the age of 14. Came into prominence when he won the 2015 PGM CCM Rahman Putra Championship to become the youngest ADT winner at the age of 15.
- Phachara finished a career-high third place on the Asian Tour Merit standings in 2017, thanks to four top-five finishes which include three runner-up results.
- The Thai grabbed the last Asian Tour card on offer in 2015 when he won his second ADT title at the season-ending event to take the fifth spot on the ADT Order of Merit.
- Phachara will be turning 20 years old on Friday.
- Javi Colomo made the headlines when he became the first ever player in the Asian Tour, European Tour and Sunshine Tour history to sink a hole-in-one on a par-four. The Spaniard needed a birdie on the 322-yard hole to make the cut at the 2015 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, but instead he made it to the weekend with two shots to spare after holing his drive for an unprecedented albatross.
- Colomo, who started plying his trade on the Asian Tour in 2012, came in tied-40th at the Maekyung Open last year.
- Colomo was out of action for about four months last year after he suffered a shoulder injury in August. He returned to competitive golf earlier in January where he played the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) before going on the play the Asian Tour season-opener in Singapore a week later.
- Yikeun Chang topped the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2016. It was his second attempt. He missed the mark in his first attempt in 2014. Chang, however, did not manage to keep his card for 2017 as he finished 101st on the 2016 Order of Merit.
- The 25-year-old Chang would regain his card at the 2017 Qualifying School after finishing tied-eighth. He ended the season in 48th place on the Merit rankings and kept his card for 2018.
- In 2017, Chang also won his National Open for his first professional title after prevailing on the third play-off hole. That victory earned him a coveted spot at The Open at Royal Birkdale that year where he made his Major debut.
- Chang enjoyed his best season yet in 2018, claiming two top-10 results which included a joint runner-up finish at the Maekyung Open. He went the distance with countryman Sanghyun Park last year but agonisingly missed out on his first Asian Tour win after Park defeated him on the third play-off hole.
- Chang would end the season in a career-high 18th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings to retain his card for 2019.
- He came in tied-12th at the season-opening Singapore Open in January.