Seok-hyun Baek will look to ride the momentum of his first win on the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour to a second straight victory.
Baek will compete in the KB Financial Live Championship ($700,000) at Blackstone GC (Par 72-7270) in Icheon, South Korea, starting on Sept. 25, where he will face a strong field that includes defending champion Yang Ji-ho, “the big hitter” Chung Chan-min, season-opening winner Ko Gun-taek, Kim Bio, Seo Yo-seop, Ham Jeong-woo, Choi Jin-ho and Lee Hyung-joon.
Baek, who immigrated to Thailand as a child to learn the game and make his professional debut on the Asian Tour, enjoyed his first career victory last week with a wire-to-wire win at the SK Telecom Open at Finks GC in Jeju.
“It was hard for me to adjust to Korean grass after being used to it in Thailand and other parts of Asia,” said Baek, who made his Korean Tour 스포츠토토 debut in 2014 and won in his second season on the tour after completing his military service in 2019.
This week’s event at Blackstone GC is also on grass. Bentgrass and Kentucky Blue are different, but the ball and grass are the same, so it will be interesting to see if Seok-hyun Paik can make another splash.
Paik will be paired with defending champion Ji-ho Yang and Yoseop Seo, who won twice last season, in the groupings announced on Wednesday.
Yang made waves last year when he won his first title in 15 years and 133 tournaments with an iron shot on the 18th (par-5) hole of the final round after his caddie, his wife, told him to “hang it up safely” as he went for a two-on.
Also of interest will be the 100-kilogram battle between Chung Chan-min, who won his first title at the 42nd GS Caltex Mae Kyung Open, and Baek Seok-hyun. Chung is averaging 325 yards with his driver this season, while Baek is at 289 yards.
Chung, who missed the cut in Jeju last week, will play alongside eight-time Tour winner Choi Jin-ho and 2021 event winner Moon Kyung-jun on day one.
The tournament is being held for the fifth time this year and has been played at Blackstone GC in Icheon. Blackstone is a course that requires a precise short game with deep rough and large undulations on the greens. The long game is a huge advantage, but you need to be accurate and sensible in the fairways to win.