Scott set for Korean return at Ballantine’s Championship

Adam Scott is hoping to continue his fine record on Asian soil when he makes his debut in the Ballantine’s Championship at the Blackstone Golf Club, in Korea, from April 26-29.

Four of Scott’s eight European Tour victories have been in Asia, and with the Ballantine’s Championship celebrating its fifth anniversary this year the World Number Nine is targeting a fifth European Tour title of his own in the continent.

The 31 year old from Adelaide will head to Korea in good form after a wonderful 2011 season in which he finished joint runner-up behind Charl Schwartzel in the Masters Tournament before winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

After a share of 11th place in the WGC - Cadillac Championship a fortnight ago, Scott returns to Augusta National next month before travelling to Korea for the €2,205,000 Ballantine’s Championship, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, aiming to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Marcus Fraser, who won the title in 2010.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Korea and playing in the Ballantine’s Championship,” said Scott. “It’s been a long time since I played in Korea – I think 2002 was my last visit – so it is certainly time for me to go back and hopefully challenge for a championship.

“My form this season has been okay. I haven’t played that much, but I’m planning on really getting into it now and kicking off for a run at the Masters, the Ballantine’s Championship and beyond. So I have been pacing myself a little bit, but I am hoping to pick up on where I left off last year.

“From what I’ve heard, everything about the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea is just like their product - it is of the highest calibre. Everything they do, from the way the players are treated to the overall experience for the fans, is first rate.”

In addition to the strong international line-up that includes Open Champion Darren Clarke, Ryder Cup stars Miguel Angel Jiménez and Ian Poulter, and American Dustin Johnson, Scott is expecting a strong home challenge for the title led by 2009 US PGA Champion YE Yang.

Scott has first-hand experience of the strength of Korean golf from the Presidents Cup, and he is impressed by what he has seen on the world stage.

“Golf is growing fast globally and certainly in Asia,” he said. “I have played a lot of golf in Asia and it’s a fantastic environment. The fans are enthusiastic and they have a lot to be enthusiastic about with world class golfers being produced on a yearly basis.

“Obviously YE Yang winning a Major Championship was a big coup and they also have young guys like Noh (Seung-yul), who is an exceptional talent and who is going to be a world beater one day. The sport is growing fast in Korea, it’s getting a lot of support and that’s good to see.

“YE Yang is a real professional who works very hard. He has a fantastic short game and is a very consistent ball striker. You saw that when he came down the stretch and won the US PGA Championship. He hit a lot of great shots, chipping in on the back nine, and he really showed off his short game. He is a fantastic golfer and he has a lot more good golf ahead of him for sure.”