Richard T Lee. Asian Tour
Richard T Lee will be looking to script another Korean success story next week as he seeks another Shinhan Donghae Open title.
The Canadian held off the challenge of Malaysian Gavin Green in 2017 to claim a one-stroke victory at Bear’s Best Cheongna at the co-sanctioned the Asian Tour and Korean Tour event, before going on to clinch two more titles in the nation.
He almost repeated his feat in 2020 on the Korean Tour, at Bear’s Best, finishing in second place behind Kim Han-byeol.
Next week, from September 7-10, Lee will be hunting the trophy once more as the Shinhan Donghae Open returns to Korean shores, having been held in Japan for the first-time last year.
Although there’s a new venue for 2023 in the shape of Incheon’s Club 72, the Shinhan Donghae Open will, for the third time, be co-sanctioned between the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Korean Tour.
“We believe this co-operation is a sign of strength for Asian golf and we anticipate further collaborations with both parties as we move forward,” said Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Commissioner and CEO.
Joining Lee among the Asian Tour contingent for the $1 million competition are past Order of Merit champions Sihwan Kim of America and Australian Scott Hend, along with Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar, triumphant in the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2016, the first year it was co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.
Both Lee and Bhullar will be buoyed by their strong showings at last week’s St Andrews Bay Championship. While Lee was T-18, Bhullar enjoyed his best outing of the season to date, a share of fifth place that saw him rise to 36th in the latest Order of Merit standings — one place below Lee.
From the top-11 in the current Order of Merit standings, following last week’s historic stop in Scotland, also in the field for Korea are Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, Thai Sadom Kaewkanjana, Australians Brendan Jones and Travis Smyth and Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho.
Vincent will be aiming to go one better than his brother, LIV Golf’s Scott, who was runner-up at The Shinhan Donghae Open in both 2016 and 2018.
Among the favourites will be Japan’s Kazuki Higa, who birdied the final two holes at Koma Country Club last year to triumph.