Korea’s Joohyung Kim is ready to rise to the occasion again as he makes his debut at the 101st New Zealand, presented by Sky Sport which starts on Thursday.
The 17-year-old will be hoping not to get too distracted by the stunning views that Queenstown has to offer when the tournament tees off.
After striking off two items on his bucket list, Kim, who is the highest ranked player on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in fourth place, is now hoping to add another tick, starting with his move on the Official World Golf Ranking where he is currently in 141st place.
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert believes his latest win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last month will reignite his title bid after stuttering start where he missed the cut in Hong Kong and finished tied-59th in Singapore.
The two-time Asian Tour winner has finished tied-29th twice in his last two previous appearances at the New Zealand Open in 2018 and 2019.
While Kim and Pavit are proven winners on the Asian Tour, Kosuke Hamamoto is seeking his breakthrough after enjoying a solid rookie season in 2019 where he finished in 31st place on the Order of Merit following two top-10s
The 20-year-old, whose father is Japanese and mother is Thai, fell short of his maiden win in Chinese Taipei last year with a second-place finish when he finished in second place and is relishing the opportunity to put himself into contention this week.
A professional field of 152 players will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second round cut of 60 and ties. The final two rounds will be played at Millbrook.
The tournament also hosts 152 amateur players, each partnering with a Professional in a two-man best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.
Joohyun Kim (KOR)
I’ve never been to a golf tournament where I’m always taking out my phone to take pictures. But I’m doing it all the time here. The views here are simply amazing. It’s going to be an exciting week. I’m pretty sure of that. I’ve prepared well for this tournament and hopefully the results will show again. Obviously, qualifying for The Open in Singapore last month was a very big achievement for me. And also, winning my first Asian Tour title in India last year. I want to break into the top-100 in the world ranking now. I know I’m in a good position and I’ve a lot of tournaments lining up. So, hopefully I can do that because the Asian Tour will present me with those opportunities for me to do well.
Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA)
This is my third time here and it’s always a joy to be here. It’s so beautiful and I just love everything here. I love the course here and it’s also good fun playing with the amateurs with this kind of format. It was nice to win again on the Asian Tour after three years with that victory in Sabah last year. I didn’t play too well in his first two events in Hong Kong and Singapore this year. Then I got another win on the ADT at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship last month which is another huge confidence booster. That win was timely because I felt I was really swinging very badly in those two events. I managed to address them and went on to win again. So all these are good signs that my good form is returning.
Kosuke Hamamoto (THA)
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place and I’m finally here. I’m so happy of what I’ve managed to achieve as a rookie last year and with my second year on Tour now, I’m going to set some new goals and keep progressing. To be honest, the first goal is to get that first win on the Asian Tour and as a professional. But I know I have to keep staying patient and keep myself chances. You cannot hurry things but the goal is for that breakthrough.