Korea’s Joohyung Kim became the second-youngest Asian Tour professional winner when he fired a seven-under-par 65 to clinch the Panasonic Open India title by one shot on November 17.
2017 winner Shiv Kapur seemed to have geared up to be the second-time winner of the tournament, but he hit a shot far out of bounds on the 18th tee to lose the opportunity.
Kim was at most looking out for a playoff chance and was practising his putting when the results were declared in his favour, surprising him and audiences alike.
Born in 2002, the year Shiv Kapur won the Asian Games Golf in Korea, Kim at 17 years and 149 days is only the second-youngest winner on the Asian Tour. The record is still held by Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, who won the Double-A International Open in 2005, aged 17 years and 5 days.
Joohyung’s father, Chang Ik, is a former Korean pro who after one season on the Buy.com (now called Korn Ferry Tour) in the US turned to teaching golf.
KIM’S TRACK RECORD
Before his triumph at the Panasonic Open India, Kim has had three wins on the Asian Development Tour, the second-rung tour in Asia. In August, Kim defeated Indonesian Mardan Mamat in a playoff to clinch the title. Before that, he won the US $54,000 PGM ADT Championship in June and the Raya Pakistan Open last October.
In addition to the three ADT wins, Kim posted a third-place finish at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open and a tied-sixth at last week’s Thailand Open. Kim has also recorded eight other top-10’s on the ADT and All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) combined in 2019. After all the hard work and wins, this was his moment!
His win on November 17 earned him 10 ranking points and even moved him from 240th in the world to 168th on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). This is a remarkable achievement because not long ago he finished 2018 sitting at 2006th in the world.
Chikkarangappa and Shiv Kapur finish runners-up
37-year-old Shiv Kapur, who won the 2017 edition of the same event, rallied to the lead on the second day. This day also saw the tournament reduced to a 54-hole event due to alarming pollution and smog levels in and around the city. Kapur fell behind at the start but came back strong on the last nines with a one-shot lead until the 18th tee. This was his second consecutive runner-up finish on the Asian Tour; on November 10, Kapur was tied for the lead and lost in a playoff against American John Catlin at the US $300,000 Thailand Open.
Kapur finished with a total score of 12-under 204 with scores of 69, 68, and 67 and joined Bengaluru based Chikkarangappa S., whose tied-second result is the best of 2019 season. Shiv Kapur moved to 320th in the world from 395th with 5 world ranking points and Chikkarangappa moved to 347th in the world from 415th with his 5 ranking points.
Shiv and Chikkarangappa S. both earned an invitation to the Panasonic Open Japan event, which is scheduled for mid-2020.
A total of 69 Indian players made up the field and 30 made the cut. The best Indian finishers included Shiv Kapur and Chikkarangappa S., who finished as joint runner-ups, followed by Vikrant Chopra finishing at tied fifth with his score of 10-under 206 — his best-ever Asian Tour finish. 21-year-old PGTI tour rookie, Veer Ahlawat finished tied-8th at 8-under 208.
20-year-old Arjun Prasad, who was the youngest Indian to hold the Asian Tour card at 17, shot 7-under 209 to finish tied-11th with M Dharma. The defending champion, Khalin Joshi, managed to finish tied-14th at 6-under 210.
Some of the notable names included Jyoti Randhawa, who was playing his 300th Asian Tour event — the first Indian to achieve the feat. He finished tied-44th with 2-under 214. Arjun Atwal, the only Indian to win on the PGA TOUR, was playing in Indian in over 18 months, since his appearance at the Hero Indian Open but was unable to make the cut. Jeev Milkha Singh finished tied-50th at 1-under 215.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who recently secured his European Tour card for 2020, shot 3-under 213 to finish tied-37th.