It’s been a very underwhelming season on the Japan Tour so far for the numerous Koreans. No wins this year is in stark contrast to a pretty lucrative haul in 2016.
A total of 20 Korean players will once again try to rectify their winless campaign at the Rizap KBC Augusta. The tournament slogan “Challenge for Change” should read “Challenge for a Change” 🙄
KT Kim had three titles under his belt at this stage last year. He was inside the world’s top 50 and was arguably in the best form of his career. One year on and he is nowhere near the form of last year, but it can all click any week, so ruling such a established talented golfer would be unjustified.
This time last season, there had been six Korean victories on the Japan Tour. In addition to K.T.’s hat-trick, Younghan Song, Byung Min Cho and Jun Won Park had been in the winner’s circle. The ISPS Handa Global Cup that Park won has been rescheduled for two week’s time, so he has yet to try and defend this, unlike the others.
Youngster Sungjae Im has been the only real positive from a Korean perspective this season. He is the top Korean on the money list, although lies just inside the top 20. Im’s performances have been somewhat slipping under the radar, but if there is anyone who can end this winless drought, he has to be strongly considered.
Junggon Hwang has been in decent form this season, picking up a victory in Korea at the KPGA Championship. The former Casio Open champion probably has one eye focused on the inaugural PGA Tour CJ Cup, in which he is now entitled to play in after winning the KPGA Major title.
Sanghee Lee has been in and out of form throughout the season, with the highlight obviously being his Maekyung Open victory. Lee is trying to juggle a suitable schedule in both Japan and Korea, which is going to prove pivotal for the rest of the season and the targets he has set.
The best of the rest is a complete lottery at the moment. The inconsistent performances are present throughout each and every one of them. It’s likely that with so many Koreans teeing it up, at least one will be in contention on Sunday. Who will that be? It’s very much a guessing game, but K.T. Kim is probably the safe pick, probably…
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