Kim Graduates With Honours

Sat 26 Jan 2013

Kim Graduates With Honours

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Hua Hin, Thailand, January 26: Korean-American Chan Kim made up for the disappointment of missing out on his Tour card last year by topping the class at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Saturday.
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After four days of gruelling battle, Kim finally emerged tops with a closing six-under-par 65 to lead 41 players on 13-under-par 272 into the new 2013 Asian Tour season at Springfield Royal Country Club.
Canada’s Richard Lee signed for a 74 to take second place on 273 while Australia’s Tim Stewart regained his full status by posting a 66 to take third place.
France’s Lionel Weber and Spain’s Carlos Pigem were the two amateurs to earn their Tour cards after they closed with a 68 and 72 to take tied-sixth and 12th place respectively.
After finishing in tied-61st place at Qualifying School last year, Kim was determined not to let history repeat itself.
“I was staring at the cut line last year at the final round but ended up shooting four-over and missed it. I knew I needed to play well today, regardless of how many it was and I’m just glad I made it,” said Kim, who was raised in Hawaii where he won the Hawaii State Amateur Stroke Play in 2007.
Kim is looking forward to returning to the birthplace of his parents now that he has earned his well-deserved Tour card.
“I live in the States but even in the States, a lot of people are talking about the Asian Tour. It’s a growing Tour and I’ve heard of its good reputation,” said Kim.
“I’ll be based in Korea for this entire season as I’ve got a couple of relatives over there. Hopefully I can get something going!” added Kim.
Meanwhile Lee is excited to revive his golfing career on the Asian Tour after losing his card on the Web.com Tour in the United States.
“I had status on Web.com for the last four years. Unfortunately I lost my Tour card this year. I wanted to try something new so I came out here and it has been going well,” said Lee.
“I’m Asian and I want to play out here as the competition and money is a lot better on the Asian Tour,” said Lee.
After finishing in 97th place on the Order of Merit last season, Stewart knew he had to get over his disappointment quickly and was delighted to regain his playing privileges for the 2013 season.
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“No one really enjoys being back here in Q School after getting to play a full season last year. I had to do some work and figure out what went wrong last year. I guess it has all paid off now,” said Stewart.
“I’ve to stay patient and not try new things that I tend to do throughout the year like changing equipment. I’m always looking forward to my first win and I’ll just have to work harder this year,” added the Australian
Following an impressive amateur career that saw him win the French Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Italian International Amateur Championship last year, Weber is now ready to make the bold leap into the professional ranks.
“It has been my dream to turn a professional golfer and begin my career on a major Tour like the Asian Tour. You’ll be seeing me in Myanmar next month!” exclaimed Weber.
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The 22-year-old’s maiden voyage to Asia saw him arriving in Hua Hin a month ago to practise and acclimatise himself to the climate.
It proved to be a decision that has paid off handsomely for the Frenchman.
“I arrived in Hua Hin one month ago to train and get used to the playing conditions here. Perhaps that’s the reason why I am playing well these two weeks,” said Weber.
“I’ve never been here before in Asia but I do love to travel here. I’m happy that I’ll get to do more of these travels this year,” added Weber.
Weber joins the list of promising amateurs who have earned their Asian Tour card through Qualifying School through the years.
They include Korea’s Jin Yong-gab and Australia’s Vernon Sexton-Finck at Qualifying School in 2005 and more recently in 2011, Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena, who agonisingly missed a place in the top-40 by one shot after he signed for a closing 72.
Notable names who finished in the top-40 and ties to earn their Asian Tour card for 2013 include Japan’s Kodai Ichihara, Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, India’s Rahil Gangjee and Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang.
Players who play in the Qualifying School are also eligible to play in the Asian Development Tour (ADT) which will be afforded with Official World Golf Ranking points starting this season.
Leading final round scores
272 Chan KIM (USA) 70-68-69-65
273 Richard LEE (CAN) 65-68-66-74
274 Tim STEWART (AUS) 69-70-66-69
276 Thomas PETERSSON (SWE) 66-73-66-71, Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 67-69-67-73
277 Lionel WEBER (A) (FRA) 72-70-67-68, Miles TUNNICLIFF (ENG) 66-68-72-71, David LUTTERUS (AUS) 69-70-67-71, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 68-65-71-73, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 64-66-72-75
278 Nicolas MEITINGER (GER) 67-76-68-67, Sam CYR (USA) 70-68-72-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71-72-67-68, Peter GUSTAFSSON (SWE) 69-71-68-70, Carlos PIGEM (A) (ESP) 71-68-67-72, Adam GROOM (AUS) 66-71-68-73
279 Konosuke NAKAZATO (JPN) 68-71-71-69, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 68- 69-69-73, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 68-70-68-73,Yoshinobu TSUKADA (JPN) 68-66-70-75
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.