Kim survives Tour card battle

Sun 19 Jan 2014

Kim survives Tour card battle

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Hua Hin, Thailand, January 19: Korean-American Chan Kim survived a pressure packed week by successfully retaining his Asian Tour card for the new 2014 season after finishing tied 52nd at the King’s Cup Golf Hua Hin on Sunday.
Kim, who won the 2013 Qualifying School, had to keep a close eye on the leaderboard as his 55th position on the Order of Merit was still under threat as Darren Beck of Australia, Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Sam Brazel of Australia, all outside the safety zone, could have caused an upset.
However, they struggled to make an impact and Kim was delighted to hold on to his Asian Tour card. He avoided playing in the immensely challenging Qualifying School in Thailand next month, which has already received over 700 entries.
“To honest I thought I didn’t do enough out there but I’m lucky that it is enough to finish inside the top-60. I didn’t feel that confident with my putting out there,” said Kim, who finished in 56th position on the final Merit list.
“It means a lot to me to retain my Tour card and not having to go back to Qualifying School. Now I will be able to play in a few co-sanctioned events (with the European Tour) and I’m really looking forward to the new season.
Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand
“I’m glad I don’t have to go back to Qualifying School. I actually turned in my application already just in case I missed the grade!” laughed Kim.
Having missed the cut earlier in the week, Jake Higginbottom of Australia, who was one rank inside the safety zone, had reason to smile when he managed to hold on to his card by finishing right on the bubble on the final Order of Merit.
“It feels good! I really didn’t know that I would save my card. I didn’t have a good end to the season and obviously I hope to play a little bit better. Yes, I was watching this afternoon (round four) and I had a huge scare when Lam Chih Bing eagled the 17th hole!” said the Asian Tour rookie.
Adam Groom of Australia, ranked 60th on the Order of Merit at the start of the week, finally finished inside the top-60 for the first time in six seasons. He knows that he will have to work on his temper after shooting two double bogeys and three straight bogeys on the back nine for a round of 76.
“I’m glad that I finally earned my Asian Tour card after so many near misses. But I’m really disappointed with the way I played today. It was horrible golf because I was feeling so frustrated. It had nothing to do with the fact that I needed to save my card,” said Groom, who will end the season in 59th position on the Order of Merit.
However there was heartbreak for Beck, Lam, Thitiphun, and Brazel who missed the all-important mark of top-60 on the Order of Merit after they finished the season in 65th, 61st, 64th, 66th place respectively.
Steve Lewton of England Steve Lewton of England
Lam gave a brave challenge highlighted by an eagle on 17 but narrowly missed a crucial birdie on the last which would have given him the much needed lift to overtake Higginbottom.
Despite his losing his card for the second successive season, Lam vowed to return to Singapore to work even harder on his golf game.
“I wasn’t trying to think about it that much. I had my chances all year and I didn’t get it done. I came to a point where life still goes on. I would have loved to be in the top-60 but I’m going to work my butt off and come back stronger,” said Lam.
Beck, a winner on the Asian Tour, will take a much needed break before deciding if he would play in the Qualifying School next month.
“I’m going to go home and think if I will go back to Qualifying School. I will take a bit of time off and think about it. Sometimes you say a lot of things when you are frustrated so at this time, I’m still thinking if I should play Qualifying School or maybe take a year off,” said the Australian.
Ends.