Incheon, Korea: Korea’s Sangmoon Bae will make his long-awaited comeback at the Shinhan Donghae Open which will be celebrating its 33rd edition at the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club next month.
The KRW1.2 billion (approximately US$1.06 million) tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Korean PGA and will see the return of some of the region’s biggest stars to Incheon from September 14-17.
Supported by the Shinhan Financial Group, The Shinhan Donghae Open made its return to the Asian Tour calendar last year following a 13-year absence and is one of the most highly anticipated events in Korea.
Bae, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will return to familiar winning grounds having claimed two consecutive victories at the long-established Shinhan Donghae Open in 2013 and 2014.
The 31-year-old Bae has been serving his mandatory military service in South Korea since November 2015, and will be officially discharged this August.
His last professional tournament was in 2015, when he played at the President’s Cup.
“I’ve had such great memories serving in the military, and I feel that I’ve grown a lot stronger.
“I did a lot of weight lifting and running to improve my conditioning, and I am not concerned about my fitness level at all. Even though I didn’t get to play much, I grew to love golf even more,” said Bae in a statement released to the media.
Bae, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will be up against some of the region’s best players including compatriot Jeunghun Wang, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin as well as India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who will be returning to defend his title.
Wang will be making his debut at the Shinhan Donghae Open and is considered as another genuine contender for the title.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a stellar season in 2016 when he secured back-to-back titles in Morocco and Mauritius Open to become the youngest golfer in European Tour history to triumph in successive weeks at the age of 20 years and 251 days.
Wang claimed another huge victory in Qatar earlier this season and like his win which came in his debut in the Middle East, the Korean will be hoping to achieve a similar triumph on home soil.
“It’s my first time playing the Shinhan Donghase Open and I’m really looking forward to it because I have the comfort of playing on home soil.
“Coming back to play on the Asian Tour will allow me to gain back some confidence in my game, given the familiarity I have with the Tour and the comfort of playing in Asia again. I had a superb season last year. It’s surely my aim to replicate that again this year,” said Wang.