Incheon, Korea: Korea’s Sangmoon Bae will be aiming to come up tops against a power-packed field in his first professional tournament at the Shinhan Donghae Open since being discharged from military service last month.
Bae, a three-time Asian Tour winner, who has also won twice on the PGA TOUR, is excited to return to competitive golf after having limited playing opportunities in the army.
His last professional tournament was in 2015, when he played at the Presidents Cup.
Bae spent two years as a rifleman in the army and will be looking to fire on all cylinders when he tees off at the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club on Thursday.
Korea’s Yikuen Chang is also expected to put up a strong challenge for the Shinhan Donghae Open title following a record-breaking win on the domestic tour last weekend.
Playing in Korea for the first time in four years, David Lipsky of the United States is determined to put up a strong performance as he seeks to return to the top of the Order of Merit after being dislodged by Australia’s Scott Hend over the weekend.
Did you know?
- Bae won the Shinhan Donghae Open twice in 2013 and 2014.
- Bae is hitting the ball further as his driving distance is now longer due to his weight and physical training in the army.
- Chang topped the class at the 2016 Asian Tour Qualifying School which was his event since turning professional.
- Chang is the first multiple winner on his local tour since 2007. He also set a domestic tour record with a 72-hole score of 28-under-par at the home event last weekend.
- Chang’s best result on the Asian Tour this season was a tied-second finish at the Yeangder Heritage in April.
- Lipsky missed the cut in his last Korean event which he played on the Asian Tour in 2012.
- The Korean-American is chasing his third Asian Tour victory this week. He last won in 2014 in Switzerland.
- Lipsky has two Asian Tour victories and won the Order of Merit title in 2014. He won the Qualifying School in 2012 to earn his card in Asia.
Sangmoon Bae (Kor)
I didn’t have many opportunities to play golf when I was in the army. But whenever we had our vacations, they allowed us to do so. I remembered vividly my first time hitting the golf ball again after about five or six months into army. Every minute was so precious and I really treasured each time when I was out on the golf course or at the driving range. I’m very happy to be back, playing among fellow professionals. It has been a month since I was discharged from the army and I’ve dedicated all my time to golf ever since. I’m looking forward to a good challenge this week and will be very interested to see where I finished on Sunday.
Yikuen Chang (Kor)
I’m driving the ball really well right now so I’ll be using a lot of drivers this week. It’s pretty wide open here and you got to hit it really far. So I guess I’ll have an advantage there. I hope to set a record on the Asian Tour like what I did on the local Tour last week. I’ve lots of Korean fans and there’ll be a lot of people cheering me on. That obviously helps and I’ll try my best for the week.
David Lipsky (Usa)
This is my first visit back to Korea after four years. My mum’s Korean and I look forward to playing in front of the passionate Korean crowd again. I’ve developed as a player. My game has gone better. I just want to come back and challenge myself. I’ve grown as a player both physically and mentally and I want to challenge myself even more. I’m going to playing in Asia for the rest of the year and winning the Order of Merit again is at the back of my mind. That’s the goal I would like to achieve at the end of the season.