The European Tour heads for South Korea this week and the fifth running of the Ballantine’s Championship at the Blackstone Golf Club in Seoul.
There’s a real international line-up in this event. Adam Scott of Australia is the top ranked player in the field and six of the seven continents will be represented.
In last year’s tournament, England’s Lee Westwood held off the challenge of Miguel Angel Jimenez by a single stroke to claim his 35th professional victory and to solidify his place, at that time, of Number 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Westwood is not back in South Korea to defend his title but there will be a strong English representation at the Blackstone Golf Club. Both Ian Poulter and Paul Casey have made the journey to South Korea from China after competing in last week’s Volvo China Open.
There’s an impressive contingent of home players on the start sheet. Led by Sang-moon Bae and Y.E. Yang, there are over 40 South Koreans in the field.
This will be the second year that Blackstone Golf Club has been used for this event. Only opened in 2010, it’s a challenging track and some changes have been made to add to the test. The 17th tees have been moved back some 40 yards, making it a far more intimidating hole. New tees have also been added on the 4th that give the option of making the par-4 driveable.
Venue: Blackstone Golf Club, Icheon, Seoul, South Korea
Date: Apr 26-29
Course stats: par 72, 7,275 yards
Purse: €2,205,000 Winner: €375,000
Defending Champion: Lee Westwood (-12)
Thursday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 5.30am
Friday 27 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 5.30am
Saturday 28 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 4am
Sunday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 4am
Sang-moon Bae – The top-ranked South Korean in the field, Bae will be looking to secure a memorable victory in his home country. He’s put on some impressive performances on the PGA Tour so far this year and made it to the quarterfinals of the Accenture Match Play.
Miguel Angel Jimenez – Last year’s runner-up, the evergreen Spaniard is capable of contending any week. This is clearly a course that suits his game so look out for him to feature here.
Geoerge Coetzee – A supremely talented player, it’s high time the young South African stepped into the winner’s circle. He was fourth last week in China so is clearly on form.
Key Hole: 15th. It’s a sprawling par 5 of 619 yards with water down the right side and lurking in front of the green. From the very back pegs few will attempt to reach in two but if the tees are moved up, the longest hitters might have a crack.
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