Korean amateur star Wooyoung Cho says he wants to turn professional immediately after the Asian Games next month with the gold medal safely in his hands and he is clearly preparing well to achieve that lofty goal after taking the lead after the second-round of the Shinhan Donghae Open today, following an outstanding, bogey-free eight-under-par 64.
The 21-year-old made an eagle and six birdies to go to 13-under for the Asian Tour event, giving him a three-shot cushion over compatriot Bio Kim and Canadian Richard T. Lee, winner of this event in 2017, who both fired 66s.
Koreans Guntaek Koh (66) and Taehoon Ok (69), Australian Anthony Quayle (70), Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai (70) and David Puig from Spain (71) – in second place until a quadruple-bogey seven on the eighth, his penultimate hole – are a further stroke back, on the Ocean Course at Club72, located near Incheon airport.
“I normally don’t play so well after a good first round, but today I got it right,” said Cho, who has already won this year on the Korean PGA Tour, at the Golfzone Open in Jeju in April.
“Second shot is very important to make a good score. For the past two events I have not got my second shots right, but I am this week, and it’s setting me up for birdie putts.”
He eagled the par-five seventh after his second shot, with a five iron, found the edge of the green, from where he holed from 30 feet.
Cho will be part of the Korean team at the Hangzhou Asian Games in China, which starts at the end of this month, along with amateur Jubin Yang, who withdrew today citing flu, and PGA Tour stars Siwoo Kim and Sungjae Im.
He said: “I would like to turn professional on October 5, immediately after the Asian Games, with the gold medal! I have a minor back injury, but these tournaments are a warm-up, and for me to manage my physical condition.”
It has been a year to remember so far as he was also part of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation’s winning team in the Ryder Cup-style Bonallack Trophy against the European Golf Association at Spain’s La Manga at the start of August.
He first rose to prominence on the Asian Tour last year at the International Series Korea. He was one off the lead after the third round following a 10-under-par 61 – which proved to be the best round of the week, and eventually tied for seventh.
The rising star is bidding to become the first amateur to win the Shinhan Donghae event, which this year celebrates its 39th edition.
Bio Kim, a decorated amateur himself before finding success in the paid ranks, won the LX Championship last weekend on the Korean PGA Tour to revitalise what has been a relatively subdued season by his own high standards. Hard work with his coach Jaehyeok Lee – the gold medallist in golf at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games – and a pep talk from his wife have helped to get him back on track.
“I feel like I am playing good. I feel like I am building momentum, and confidence. We’ll see how it goes at the weekend,” said last year’s Rookie of the Year on the Asian Tour.
“I have been working really hard with my coach Jaehyeok Lee, he is a former national team player, and is still a very good player. I have been working really hard on the little things, not like a dramatic changes or anything, just alignment. All those little things add up, and now here I am. Golf, you never know how it goes.
“Beginning of the year I guess I put too much pressure on myself. I had some great time off in the summer with my family here in Korea, which did me a lot of good. I talked to my wife about it. She just said, ‘you know, we are doing fine, let’s build momentum’, that’s exactly what she said, actually. ‘Don’t try and achieve something really quickly’. I think I am doing that fine now after she said it.”
South African Jbe Kruger, the champion in 2019, made his move today, carding a 66 to move to seven-under, in a tie for 12th, along with a group of players that includes Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, in with a 71.
Filipino Miguel Tabuena, second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, shot his second successive 69 and is six under for the KRW1.4 billion (about US$1 million) event, which is being tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Korean PGA Tour for the third time.
Tabuena is still battling a left wrist and thumb injury.
Said this year’s The DGC Open winner: “Took some painkillers today and yesterday, big help. This course isn’t that demanding off the tee, you will see a lot of low scores. I didn’t hit it well at all, I missed so many fairways, but I took advantage of the par fives today and yesterday, with my length I can easily get on in two.
“This morning I told the guys back home it [the wrist] really hurt last night. I am going day by day actually. I am not sure how I will go about this. But I am happy with the position I am in. I want to thank the physio Pan for the help she is giving me. She as been looking after me since Monday.”
Scores after round 2 of the The 39th Shinhan Donghae Open being played at the par 72, 7204 Yards Club72 Country Club course (am – denotes amateur):
131 – Wooyoung Cho (am, KOR) 67-64.
134 – Bio Kim (KOR) 68-66, Richard T. Lee (CAN) 68-66.
135 – Guntaek Koh (KOR) 69-66, Anthony Quayle (AUS) 65-70, Taehoon Ok (KOR) 66-69, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 65-70, David Puig (ESP) 64-71.
136 – Sanghyun Park (KOR) 68-68, Taeho Kim (KOR) 70-66, Seonghyeon Jeon (KOR) 68-68.
137 – Jbe Kruger (RSA) 71-66, Kieran Vincent (ZIM) 66-71, Aguri Iwasaki (JPN) 74-63, Inhoi Hur (KOR) 70-67, Ryuko Tokimatsu (JPN) 66-71, Sanghun Shin (KOR) 71-66, Shunya Takeyasu (JPN) 70-67, Tomoharu Otsuki (JPN) 68-69, Scott Hend (AUS) 69-68, Kyongjun Moon (KOR) 69-68, Wonjoon Lee (AUS) 67-70.
138 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 69-69, Mingyu Cho (KOR) 69-69, Keita Nakajima (JPN) 71-67, Taehee Lee (KOR) 69-69, Zach Murray (AUS) 70-68, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 72-66, Dongmin Lee (KOR) 69-69, Ryutaro Nagano (JPN) 66-72, Osang Kwon (KOR) 74-64, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 70-68, Hanbyeol Kim (KOR) 69-69, Brad Kennedy (AUS) 70-68, Shaun Norris (RSA) 69-69, Eunshin Park (KOR) 70-68, Yongjun Bae (KOR) 70-68.
139 – Younghan Song (KOR) 68-71, Shintaro Kobayashi (JPN) 70-69, Kyungnam Kang (KOR) 72-67, Yosuke Tsukada (JPN) 71-68, Junseok Lee (AUS) 67-72, Travis Smyth (AUS) 70-69, Jaeho Kim (KOR) 70-69, Chung Yoon (USA) 70-69, Jeongwoo Ham (KOR) 70-69, Jinjae Byun (KOR) 71-68, Yonggu Shin (CAN) 68-71, Minkyu Kim (KOR) 67-72.
140 – Sungho Yun (KOR) 70-70, Seungbin Choi (KOR) 71-69, Heemin Chang (KOR) 68-72, Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 73-67, Ryuichi Oiwa (JPN) 72-68, Minjun Kim (KOR) 67-73, Taichi Kho (HKG) 69-71, Kensei Hirata (JPN) 73-67, Daijiro Izumida (JPN) 69-71, Taehoon Kim (KOR) 68-72, Mikiya Akutsu (JPN) 69-71, Todd Baek (USA) 69-71, Sungkug Park (KOR) 71-69.
141 – Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 72-69, Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) 70-71, Yuta Ikeda (JPN) 70-71, Brendan Jones (AUS) 71-70, Ian Snyman (RSA) 71-70, Ryo Katsumata (JPN) 72-69, Dongmin Kim (KOR) 71-70, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 73-68, Justin De Los Santos (PHI) 73-68, Danthai Boonma (THA) 71-70, Seungsu Han (USA) 68-73, Shugo Imahira (JPN) 71-70, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 70-71, Hiroshi Iwata (JPN) 72-69, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 70-71, Galam Jeon (KOR) 71-70, Doyeob Mun (KOR) 69-72, Junggon Hwang (KOR) 70-71, Taihei Sato (JPN) 68-73, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 69-72.
142 – Todd Sinnott (AUS) 71-71, Sihwan Kim (USA) 73-69, Dongkyu Jang (KOR) 75-67, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 71-71, Riki Kawamoto (JPN) 67-75, Naoyuki Kataoka (JPN) 72-70, Jarin Todd (USA) 71-71, Taiga Nagano (JPN) 70-72, Hyunwoo Ryu (KOR) 70-72.
143 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 75-68, Jaekyeong Lee (KOR) 73-70, Sungmin Cho (KOR) 72-71, Seonghyeon Kim (KOR) 72-71, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 72-71, Yusaku Miyazato (JPN) 72-71, Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN) 73-70, Kodai Ichihara (JPN) 70-73, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 70-73, Viraj Madappa (IND) 69-74, Chanmin Jung (KOR) 73-70, Jiho Yang (KOR) 73-70, Miguel Carballo (ARG) 71-72, Han Lee (USA) 71-72, Jaemin Hwang (KOR) 73-70, Dongeun Kim (KOR) 69-74.
144 – Minchel Choi (KOR) 72-72, Jaeil Song (KOR) 71-73, Yikeun Chang (KOR) 72-72, Doyeon Hwang (KOR) 74-70, Tomoyasu Sugiyama (JPN) 71-73, Hyungjoon Lee (KOR) 70-74.
145 – Yuta Uetake (JPN) 75-70, Jinsung Kim #875 (KOR) 73-72, Tomoyo Ikemura (JPN) 71-74, Eric Sugimoto (JPN) 69-76, Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 74-71, Bongsub Kim (KOR) 71-74.
146 – Yosuke Asaji (JPN) 76-70, Kevin Yuan (AUS) 69-77, Junghwan Lee (KOR) 68-78, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 74-72.
147 – Gyeongjun Lee (KOR) 76-71, Sanghee Lee (KOR) 76-71, Jinho Choi (KOR) 70-77, Taisei Shimizu (JPN) 72-75.
148 – K.T. Kim (KOR) 69-79, Hanmil Jung (KOR) 75-73.
149 – Yetaek LIM (KOR) 73-76, Jihoon Lee #730 (KOR) 72-77.
150 – Junsung Kim (KOR) 74-76.
152 – Yoseop Seo (KOR) 80-72.
153 – Seukhyun Baek (KOR) 80-73.
174 – Chanho Park (am, KOR) 87-87.
-3 (141) was the final cut, 82 players made the cut
Hyungsung Kim, Korea – RT
Trevor Simsby, USA – RT
a-Yubin Jang, Korea – RT