Teen wonder Kim back in business at the Sabah Masters – Asian Tour

Teen wonder Kim back in business at the Sabah Masters


Newly minted Asian Tour winner Joohyung Kim of Korea will be looking to cope with elevated expectations when he chases for more glory at the highly anticipated Sabah Masters which starts on Thursday.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, November 20: Newly minted Asian Tour winner Joohyung Kim of Korea will be looking to cope with elevated expectations when he chases for more glory at the highly anticipated Sabah Masters which starts on Thursday.

Joohyung Kim of Korea

The 17-year-old Asian Tour newcomer, latest addition to the Tour’s growing list of bright young stars, refused to get ahead of himself even though he has won once and finished inside top-10 twice in his last three starts on the region’s premier Tour this season.

Having claimed his maiden Asian Tour title in India last week, Kim, the youngest professional player in the field this week, will be bidding for back-to-back wins when he steps up to the tee at the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club.

Kim will headline the US$300,000 full-field Asian Tour event alongside Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, Indonesia’s Rory Hie and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, who all entered the week in fine form, having secured recent top-10 finishes in Thailand and India.

Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh

Siddikur, who turns 35 years old today, hopes to take advantage of his recent run of fine form to bid for a third Asian Tour title and first since 2013. Hie is also aiming to end his commendable season with a flourish as he takes another shot at glory this week.

Inspired by his good friend Kim’s victory in India last week, Phachara is feeling the added motivation as he continues to hunt for a maiden Asian Tour title at the Sabah Masters, which is the ninth full-fiend event on the 2019 Asian Tour schedule.

The Sabah Masters is supported by the Tourism Malaysia with an aim to boost tourism in Sabah.

Rory Hie of Indonesia

Did you know?

  • At a young age of 17 years and 149 days, Joohyung Kim became the second youngest professional to win on the Asian Tour when he claimed his maiden win on the region’s premier Tour at the Panasonic Open India last week. It was only his third start on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Kim had posted a third-place finish at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open and a tied-sixth place result at the Thailand Open prior to his Asian Tour breakthrough.
  • The Korean talent had earned his playing rights for the remainder of the 2019 Asian Tour season after clinching his third title on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season in Pakistan last month.
  • Kim is the youngest professional player in the 133-man field this week. Local amateur Timothy Lo is the youngest at 14 years old.
  • Kim has been living in Bangkok, Thailand with his family for the past two years. He turned professional in May 2018.
  • Before moving to Bangkok, Kim was based in the Philippines for about six years. He won the 2018 Philippine Amateur Open Championship and the 2018 W Express RVF Cup Amateur Championship before recording his first professional title on the Philippine Golf Tour in July 2018.
  • Kim speaks a total of three languages. He’s fluent in Tagalog, English and Korean.
  • Siddikur Rahman is celebrating his 35th birthday today. It is also his first trip to Kota Kinabalu this week.
  • He has enjoyed a solid season so far, missing only four cuts in 15 starts. He sits in a current 23rd place on the Merit rankings.
  • Siddikur marked his best result yet this season at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters where he finished tied-fifth. Notched his second top-10 finish in India last week.
  • Twice a winner on the Asian Tour, Siddikur secured his first win at the 2010 Brunei Open before winning again three years later at the Hero Indian Open.
  • The Bangladeshi’s best year on the Asian Tour was in 2013 when he finished fourth on the Order of Merit with over US$495,000 in earnings, and he was also in the top-10 in 2010 and 2011 when he finished seventh and eight respectively.
  • Phachara Khongwatmai claimed his third top-10 result this season when he came in tied-sixth at the Thailand Open two weeks ago.
  • The 20-year-old Thai sits in 43rd place on the current Order of Merit with total earnings of US$79,757.
  • Phachara came into prominence when he won the 2015 PGM CCM Rahman Putra Championship to become the youngest ADT winner at the age of 15.
  • 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 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.
  • Phachara is good friends with Joohyung Kim. They practise together when they are back home in Bangkok, where Kim is currently based. Phachara says he feels inspired by Kim’s victory in India last week.
  • Rory Hie became the first Indonesian winner on the Asian Tour when he won wire-to-wire at the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship in India two months ago. He returned to his winning ground last week and notched another solid top-five finish.
  • Hie sits in 38th place on the current Asian Tour Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$85,244.
  • After earning First Team All American golf honors at Cerritos High in California, Hie played college golf as a freshman and sophomore at University of Southern California 2006-2008 before turning pro in 2009. Hie was ranked as high as sixth as an amateur before he turned professional. 
Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand
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