Six Koreans head to the links at Genesis Scottish Open
Six Koreans — Im Sung-jae, Kim Si-woo, Lee Kyoung-hoon, Kim Joo-hyung, Kim Bio and Lee Jae-kyeong — are throwing their hats into the ring as the PGA Tour heads across the Atlantic for the Genesis Scottish Open on Thursday.
This year is the first time that the historic Genesis Scottish Open will be played as a joint tournament between the PGA Tour and the European Tour, now known as the DP World Tour for sponsorship reasons, after the two organizations announced a strategic alliance in November, 2020.
The inaugural Scottish Open was in 1972, with this year marking the 50th anniversary. The tournament returns to the links course at the Renaissance Club in the seaside town of North Berwick, Scotland for the fourth year in a row. The event is one of five tournaments that are part of the Rolex Series.
The event will be played as a par-70 72-hole stroke play over four days. The cut will be made after the first two rounds with only the top 65 golfers playing the last two rounds. The total purse for this year's tournament will be $8 million with the winner taking $1.44 million.
Six Koreans, three from the PGA and three from the KPGA, have their eyes on the prize.
PGA golfers Im, Kim Si-woo and Lee Kyoung-hoon earn their spot at the tournament as they are all ranked among the top 73 golfers on the Tour. Im is No. 23, Lee Kyoung-hoon is No. 40 and Kim Si-woo is No. 65.
Kim Bio, Kim Joo-hyung and Lee Jae-kyeong all earned their spot in different ways — Kim Bio as a sponsor invitee, Kim Joo-hyung as the 2021 KPGA Genesis points leader and Lee Jae-kyeong as the winner of the 2021 KPGA Genesis Championship.
Top-ranked Korean golfer Im will be looking for his third career title and second of the season after winning his first trophy of the season at the Shriners Children's Open in October last year.
Im arrives at the Scottish Open after a wobbly couple of months. Im jetted in to Korea in May to participate in the inaugural Woori Financial Group Championship on the KPGA Tour, but tested positive for Covid-19 and had to miss the tournament and delay his return to the PGA.
Despite the slight bump in the road, Im bounced back at the Charles Schwab Cup tying for 15th place in the last week of May. Then Im finished tied for 10th at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday on June 5. Despite failing to make the cut in the U.S. Open, the third major tournament, Im has made 16 cuts in 19 tournaments this season, finishing in the top 10 in six events, the most of all the Korean golfers on the Tour.
Lee Kyoung-hoon, who goes by K. H. Lee on the Tour, has been on the rise since he succeeded in defending his title at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May. Although he failed to make the cut at the Charles Schwab Cup, he has made it to the final two rounds of the next three events, the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, the U.S. Open and the Travelers Championship, where he finished tied for 19th on June 26.
Kim Si-woo will be looking for an opportunity to gain some momentum and maybe even win his first title of the season at the Scottish Open after missing the cut in the last two tournaments, the U.S. Open and the Travelers Championship.
Before the two tournaments, Kim Si-woo finished tied for 13th at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday in the first week of June. His best performance this season is finishing tied for eighth at the Sanderson Farms Championship, the sole top-10 finish he has made this season. If he does win the Scottish Open, it will be his fourth career title after winning his first title in the 2015-16 season then his second in the 2016-17 season. He won his third career trophy last season at The American Express in January, 2021.
The best a Korean golfer has ever done at the event was Yang Yong-eun tying for 10th in 2015, while Wang Jeung-hun tied for 12th in 2020. Last year, Minwoo Lee of Australia, the younger brother of world No. 2 LPGA golfer Minjee Lee, won the trophy.
PGA golfers would normally have headed this week to Kentucky for the Barbasol Championship, but because there are more FedEx Cup points on the line at the Scottish Open due to the new partnership between the PGA and DP World Tour, the top golfers are headed to the Genesis Scottish Open. Of the top 15 players in the world, 14 make up a competitive field at The Renaissance Club in a tune-up for The Open at St. Andrews.
The 2022 Genesis Scottish Open is the last PGA Tour event before the 150th Open Championship later this month. The Open, also called the British Open, is the oldest golf tournament in the world and is played at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland.
The Genesis Scottish Open, which is sponsored by Hyundai Motor Group's Genesis brand, will provide a chance for the top golfers to warm up and get used to the Scottish golf courses ahead of The Open.
The Scottish Open will tee off on Thursday and will run through Sunday.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]