Lahore, Pakistan, October 20: Korea’s Joohyung Kim stamped his class by capturing his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title this season with a dominant wire-to-wire victory at the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Sunday.
The 17-year-old Korean, who started his final round with a commanding 11-shot lead ensured he would become only the third player in the ADT history to win three times in a single season when he signed off with a one-over-par 73 to clinch the title by nine shots.
Only Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand have achieved the feat when they won three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.
With his latest victory, Kim is also assured of his immediate playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Pakistan’s Muhammad Shabbir finished in second place after posting a 67, while Fiji’s Sam Lee came in third courtesy of his final round 68.
Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang settled for fourth placed after signing for a 74 while American Sam Gillis took fifth place by posting a 71.
Kim got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the second hole. He recovered quickly by firing two birdies on the third and sixth holes before dropping another shot on nine.
The Korean made further gains with birdies on 10 and 12 but dropped another three shots on holes 13, 14 and 17 before closing with a par on 18 for a winning total of 17-under-par 271.
“I know I had a big lead, but golf is a game that is not over until you have played the last hole. There were some tough pins out there and I made some mistakes, so fortunately that big lead helped,” said Kim, who had won in Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this season.
It was a well-deserved victory for Kim as it had been a physically demanding week where the young Korean had to play 28 holes on Saturday while trying to maintain his focus and composure on the final day at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.
“I lost a lot of energy after that 28 holes. Today I got off to a shaky start, but I told myself to hang in there and finish as strongly as I can.
“Moving to Thailand last year, where I’m based at now helped me to develop my game a lot. There are a lot of good golfers there and playing with them has made me better. But I still have a lot to learn,” said Kim, who cements his position as the Order of Merit leader with his accumulated earnings of US$59,444.47 on the money list.
Lahore, Pakistan, October 19: Korea’s Joohyung Kim opened up a commanding 11-shot lead after posting a solid four-under-par 68 in the penultimate round of the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Saturday.
Kim, who did not manage to complete his second round on Friday due to weather delays, returned to complete his remaining 10 holes and sign for a low round 64 to seize the outright halfway lead by four at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.
The 17-year-old prodigy continued to pull away from his closest rivals when he traded six birdies against two bogeys for a three-day total of 18-under-par 198, putting himself in pole position for an all-important third victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.
A third win this season will help him gain immediate playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season. Only Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand have achieved the feat when they won three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.
Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang battled to a 69 to take second place while Pakistan’s Muhammad Munir sits a further three shots back in third following a 71.
Kim, who had emerged victorious in Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this season, just wanted to get enough rest after playing 28 holes on Saturday.
“I am tired but will make sure I rest well ahead of the final round on Sunday. I was just tagging along on the first nine holes (third round), and trying to stay in the moment. Thankfully I got a big momentum going after that,” said Kim.
“I’ve put myself in a good position for the final round, but I still need a low score tomorrow,” he added.
Kim took a while to get going with two bogeys in the sixth and ninth hole. But he went on a good run after the turn with four birdies, including three in the final four holes.
Lahore, Pakistan, October 18: Japan’s Nari Gamma shot a commendable four-under-par 68 to take the halfway clubhouse lead at the weather-hit US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Friday.
Gamma, who held a share of the opening round lead after carding a 66, fired six birdies against two bogeys to stay atop the leaderboard with a two-day total of 10-under-par 134 at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.
Local prospect Muhammad Munir and Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach moved into third place on matching 141 after posting rounds of 72 and 70 respectively.
Overnight co-leader Joohyung Kim of Korea is one of the 48 players, who will return to complete their second rounds at 7.30am local time on Saturday. Play was halted for two hours and 40 minutes due to lightning threats at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.
“To be honest, I am surprised to keep a low score despite the tough conditions today. My aim was to keep the pace of my putting. The delay also helped me improve my iron game on the soft greens,” said Gamma.
“The front nine was a bit tricky from the fairways, but I’m pleased to score a couple of birdies on the back nine.”
Gamma, who turned professional two years ago, did not start well after mixing two birdies with two bogeys in the opening nine holes.
But bad weather proved a good omen for the Japanese, who fired four birdies after the turn to lead for the second consecutive day.
Gamma also reserved praise for the local golfers in this Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
“Some of them are really good, and I expect a tough competition until Sunday. Just hoping to keep a low score in the next two days.”
Pakistan’s Aadil Jehangir fired a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th hole for what is the is 21st ace in his career.
“Well, I have only shot four aces in professional tournaments, but I have to say this one was the most special. It only had one bounce before going in! I am pleased and it gives me some boost for the rest of the tournament.”
Lahore, Pakistan, October 17: Korean Joohyung Kim showed great resolve of winning the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit when he fired a six-under-par 66 to grab a share of the first round lead with Japan’s Nari Gamma at the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Thursday.
The 17-year-old, buoyed after taking over top spot of the money list recently, bounced back superbly from an opening bogey to fire seven birdies to share the day’s honour with Gamma at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.
The duo are two shots ahead of Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall, whose flawless 68 comprised of four birdies which all came on the front nine.
The local contingent showed they are certainly no pushovers with as many as seven of them, including amateur Zohaib Asif and seasoned campaigner Muhammad Munir bunched in fourth place alongside one-time ADT champion Sam Gillis of the United States.
“I kept it in position today, hitting the fairways and lots of greens to set up plenty of birdie opportunities. And of course, what mattered most was to make the them count,” said Kim.
Kim started on the back foot when he bogeyed the par-four first hole. But he was undeterred.
Kim responded almost immediately with two successive birdies before making further gain on eight to turn in 34.
On his return inward-nine, Kim powered his way to four more birdies including a sublime 30-footer on 14.
“I made a good long putt on 14, it was from about 30 feet. That birdie which came on the toughest hole of this course really got my momentum going as I finished off nicely with another couple more on 16 and 17.
“I’m happy with how I’ve played today and hopefully this good form continues for the rest of the week,” he added.
For Gamma, it was certainly a day to savour as it is the first time he made it to the top of the leaderboard since turning professional two years ago.
Playing in the afternoon group, he matched Kim’s effort by marking his bogey-free scorecard with six birdies, including three in his last five holes.
“This is the first time I lead or co-lead in a tournament as a professional, I’m very happy!
“I missed the green only on one hole, so my iron play was pretty good today. I’m loving the golf course and the condition is great. So, hopefully i can have a good round tmorrow again” said the Japanese.
Lahore, Pakistan, October 16: Joohyung Kim of Korea is determined to extend his lead on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit with another commanding performance at the Raya Pakistan Open which starts on Thursday.
The in-form 17-year-old had just dethroned Japan’s Naoki Sekito as the Merit leader thanks to a solid tied-fifth finish at the Combiphar Players Championship in Indonesia a fortnight ago.
With his eyes now set on becoming the youngest-ever ADT Order of Merit champion, Kim is targeting another grandstand finish at the US$80,000 tournament, which is the fourth last event on the region’s secondary circuit.
Kim stressed the importance of taking advantage of the absence of his closest rivals especially Sekito and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, ranked second and third on the money list respectively,
“It’s a pretty important week here because we don’t have lot of events left and a lot of the rivals are not here.
“A good week here can give me a bit of breathing space, but the plan is just try the best I can and hope for the best,” said Kim, who boast two victories in his last six ADT starts.
Besides the Merit charge, Kim will certainly tee off at the Defence Raya Golf Club with an added motivation knowing that he is just one title shy of an immediate Asian Tour promotion.
“I’m just trying to play the best that I can and I would say that goes for every week. But without a doubt if I play my A game I know I have chance to be up there,” said the winner of PGM ADT Tiara Melaka and Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament.
Kim has heaped praise on the organisers for reviving the Pakistan Open after a lapse of 10 years, adding that it augurs well for the golf development in the country.
The Pakistan Open, which was inaugurated in 1967, had previously featured twice on the Asian Tour schedule in 2006 and 2007.
“It is my first time in Pakistan and it’s a good experience for me to come to a country I’ve never been to and play.
“I have no doubt that the event is going to generate a positive impact. This is no ordinary tournament, it is a national Open, which the people of Pakistan can be proud of!
“I’m hoping that all of us who are competing this week can play a big role in helping to grow the sport in this country. I’m absolutely honoured to be playing here this week,” said the Korean.