Apr 04, 2017: Korea’s starlet Jeunghun Wang will realise a childhood dream when he tees up for the first time at the Masters Tournament which starts on Thursday.
The 21-year-old rising star will be amongst 20 debutants set to make a bow at the year’s opening Major after earning his ticket to Augusta National by being in the top-50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Already a three-time winner in his blossoming career, the slender Wang, who finished third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, hopes to break his Major jinx by making the cut at the Masters following abbreviated appearances at the British Open and PGA Championship last season.
“The Masters is my dream tournament. I’m so excited right now. It’s going to be really fun,” said Wang.
“I started watching the Masters when I was about 10 years old. I can remember the golf course well and I think it’s pretty cool that the winner gets to wear the green jacket. I’ve always thought Augusta National looks great on TV.
“I’ve already played the Open and the PGA but missed the cut. So I can’t wait to play at the Masters and try to make the cut.”
Since breaking down in tears after losing the 2014 Dubai Open where he led with one hole remaining, Wang has shown his immense potential. He won back-to-back titles in Morocco and Mauritius last year to become the youngest golfer in European Tour history to achieve the feat.
Earlier this season, he claimed another big win in Qatar which propelled him into the world’s top-50, an achievement which belies his young age.
“I have a lot of confidence now from my three victories. I am getting more comfortable when I get into big events which is a good thing. Before, I used to get very nervous and I wouldn’t be able to play my own game but now I can play my own game,” said Wang, whose father taught him golf when he was a boy.
“I still have a lot to learn, and I need to practice more. It’s good to have a chance to play in big tournaments. You get to play against the great players and also get a chance to learn from them. By watching them, you pick up some good tips.”
With his growing reputation on the international scene, Wang has enjoyed being paired with leading golfers such as Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen in recent months, gleaning from those experiences to improve his array of golf shots.
“I played really well when I was paired with Lee (in Dubai). I thought I played good and he played bad but he still shot a better score than I did. He just didn’t give up and didn’t get angry during his round. These are some of the lessons that you learn,” said Wang.
Wang was knocked out in the group stage during his last tournament, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, two weeks ago but a tied 23rd outing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the previous week will provide him with some form to lean on heading into the Masters this week.
Some commentators have predicted that Wang could win a Major title down the road. Countrymen K.J. Choi finished third at the 2004 Masters while Y.E. Yang claimed an historic triumph at the 2009 PGA Championship to become Asia’s lone Major winner to date.
“Sometimes when you hear people say you can win a Major, it gives you confidence. I also believe that I can one day win a Major. But first, I have to win more tournaments in Europe and then also in America. Then I think I will have a chance to win a Major,” said Wang.