With the opening of the Hangzhou Asian Games just four days away, the ranks of Korean golf’s rivals are being revealed one after another as they seek to wash away the humiliation of ‘no gold’ five years ago. The men’s division, led by Lim Seong-jae and Kim Si-woo’s ‘PGA Tour Duo’, does not have many notable competitors, so it seems possible to sweep the individual and team events, while in the women’s division, China is expected to be strong with world number one Yin Luoning holding on.
Golf, which first became an official event at the Asian Games in the 1982 New Delhi Games, was Korea’s ‘medal garden’ for a while. Starting with the men’s team gold medal at the 1986 Seoul Games, Korea has won the most medals with 13 gold, 13 silver, and 9 bronze medals. In particular, at the 2006 Doha and 2010 Guangzhou competitions, it won championships in all events, including the men’s and women’s individual and team events, solidifying its position as the undisputed ‘strongest golf player in Asia’.
However, at the 2014 Incheon Games, Park Gyeol only won one gold medal in the women’s individual event스포츠토토, and at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, she lost only ‘no gold’ for the first time in 20 years, shaking the stronghold of the strongest.
Korean golf dreams of revival in Hangzhou. The men’s division is expected to be absolutely strong. Seongjae Lim and Siwoo Kim, who are active on the PGA Tour, will again wear the Taegeuk symbol following the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. It consisted of amateurs Jo Woo-young and Jang Yu-bin.
Seongjae Lim and Siwoo Kim are the stars of Korean men’s golf, with two and four wins, respectively, on the PGA Tour. Wooyoung Jo and Yubin Jang have also won the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) tour tournament once this year, so it is safe to say that their skills are already at ‘professional level’.
Athletes from competing countries have less weight compared to Korea. Among the men’s roster released on the Hangzhou Asian Games information site ‘MyInfo’ on the 18th, India’s Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma stand out. Lahiri and Sharma recorded two wins each on the European Tour. Pachara Kongwatmai (Thailand), who finished runner-up after extra time at the Shinhan Donghae Open held in Korea earlier this month, Siddiker Rahman of Bangladesh, who won twice on the Asian Tour, Daichi Ko (Hong Kong), who participated in the Shinhan Donghae Open, and Wu Sun of China. This is a dark horse.
On the other hand, the Chinese players in the women’s division are spectacular. In addition to In Luoning, the national team included Lin Siyu, ranked 12th in the world, and Liu Yu, who finished runner-up at the LPGA Tour Lotte Championship in April this year. China, which is taking the LPGA tour by storm this season, is expected to show a strong performance thanks to its home course advantage.
In addition to these players, Jen Bei-win (Taiwan) and Aditi Ashok (India) are also active players on the LPGA tour. Thailand, which has recently shown strength in the LPGA Tour, has PK Kongkraphan, who played on the LPGA Tour until 2019, and two amateur players on its list of participating players. Princess Mary Superior (Philippines), who won the Simone Asia Pacific Cup held in Jakarta, Indonesia in August last year, will also participate.
In Korea, a trio of high school amateurs, including Kim Min-sol, Lim Ji-yu, and Yoo Hyeon-jo, will participate. They stood out by competing on equal footing with prominent pros at this year’s Korea Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) tour tournament. Minsol Kim tied for 5th place in the OK Financial Group Open, while Hyunjo Yoo and Jiyu Lim tied for 14th place in the KB Financial Star Championship and tied for 15th place in the KG Ladies Open, respectively. Passing the national team selection competition, which is called ‘piercing the needle’, should be seen as a verification of one’s skills.
The golf event will be held from the 28th to October 1st at the West Lake International Golf Course in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.