Irish Golfer Weekly (Digital)

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

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WEDNESDAY 18.5.16 I t's been an incredible month for Korean men's golf, which has long been in the shadows of the ongoing success of their female counterparts. There is a new crop of young talent emerging and the two stand-out successes of 2016 will both be on show this week at the K Club. Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang have hit a purple patch of form recently on the Europe- an Tour, and will be full of con- fidence as they bid to become the first Asian winner of the Irish Open. Twenty year-old Wang became the youngest ever back to back winner on the European Tour last week and the first since Rory McIlroy in 2014, as he fol- lowed up his maiden victory in Morocco by sealing the Mauritius Open title with a birdie on the last hole. Incredibly, he is now looking to emulate Seve Balles- teros' three wins in a row, which happened exactly 30 years ago. Coincidentally, this run for Balles- teros began at the 1986 Carrolls Irish Open. Lee, the winner of the Shenzen International last month, has a game that is very much suited for the K Club course. I expect him to put in a strong performance this week and quite possibly be right up there in contention on Sunday afternoon. With McIIroy being Lee's favourite golfer, the 23-year old would love nothing more than to be paired with the world number three during the weekend's play. It would be hard not to consider Lee & Wang as possible winners this week. By Kenneth Quillinan IN-FORM KOREAN YOUNGSTERS CONFIDENT OF K-CLUB SUCCESS As the Olympic qualification deadline (July 11th) drawing ever closer, the motivation for this duo to compete in Rio is arguably much stronger than anywhere else. Why? Well, if they can make it to Rio and pick up a medal of any colour, their mandatory two year military service here in Korea will be reduced to just four weeks. So it is certainly not just fame and fortune that has given these two extra drive for success. Lee (69th) currently lies just one place above Wang (70th) in the world rankings, as they continue their bid to chase down KT Kim (45th) and Ben An (25th) before the deadline. As much as I would like to see Rory McIlroy win this week, I would not be too disappointed if the Irish Open trophy made its way over to this side of the world. It would certainly give me a better chance of holding it anyway! Whatever happens, it is undoubtedly going to be a fascinating week at the K Club and I am looking forward to see that nice piece of Water- ford Crystal land in Seoul in a few weeks! If you are planning on attend- ing this week, why not show them some support and say hello to Big Mike, Soomin's caddie, who loves Ireland! Jeunghun Wang Soomin Lee IRISH OPEN 2016

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