Chan Kim aims to ring in glorious old times at PGM Championship

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Chan Kim - TheGolfingHub
While a third straight top-10 result would probably be enough to help him break into the top-30, Chan Kim has set himself a loftier target at the PGM Championship. Photo: JGTO

Chan Kim will aim to recapture the Heiwa PGM Championship this week as he hopes to crack the top-30 of the JGTO Money Ranking and boost his hopes of qualifying for the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup.

Backed by a couple of top-six finishes in his last two starts, including a tied-sixth at the Japan Open last week, the 32-year-old has moved up to 35th after amassing ¥16,221,285 from only a handful of seven tournaments he entered this year.

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Kim is currently ¥2,486,115 adrift of 30th-placed Taisei Shimizu and he knows he can keep piling the pressure on those above him with another good showing at the PGM Ishioka Golf Club in Ibaraki this week.

While a third straight top-10 result would probably be enough to help him break into the top-30, Kim has set himself a loftier target.

“In my last two tournaments, I finished top-10, so I would really like to win one title before the end of the season,” said Kim, who’s the reigning JGTO money list winner.

“If I manage to win one, then I’ll get into the JT Cup this year. My goal is to play in the season finale and I’ll work hard to accomplish that.

“(Due to his playing schedule abroad) I haven’t been playing regularly this year, so my money ranking is not so good.”

Five years ago, Kim won the Heiwa PGM Championship with a six-under-par total, then at the PGM Resort Okinawa, edging Yuta Ikeda and Younghan Song by one stroke for his third JGTO victory.

Defending champion Hosung Choi of South Korea also forms part of the international cast that includes Australian trio Anthony Quayle, Brad Kennedy and Brendan Jones, Justin De Los Santos and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul and Thanyakon Khrongpha and American Todd Baek.

Currently 13th and 15th respectively, both Quayle and Kennedy are well-position to make the cut for the JT Cup with four to play but the same can’t be said for Baek (26th) and De Los Santos (28th).

The tournament is making a comeback for its eighth edition after a lapse of three years due to Covid-19.

Touted as a highly strategic course engulfed in the beauty of nature, even Nicklaus was so proud of his own masterpiece that he regarded PGM Ishioka Golf Club as “the best golf course I know of in Japan.”

The course challenges its players with tight fairways, which are lined by mature trees, requiring them to make full use of all 14 clubs.

Players like Quayle and De Los Santos will fancy their chances having finished tied-sixth the last time this course played host to the ISPS Handa Championship in April.