By Matt Smith
South Korean local hero Bio Kim has set himself the goal of finishing top of both the Asian Tour Order of Merit and the Korean PGA Tour ranking this season — and he plans to use this week’s International Series Korea as a crucial stepping stone on that journey.
It will be a bit like a home from home for Bio as this week’s event is being played on Jeju Island, where he won the SK Telecom Open on the Korean PGA Tour in June. The $1.5 million event tees off on Thursday at Lotte Skyhill Country Club.
“It’s going to be a great week on Jeju Island and hopefully, I will have a good result,” said Bio. “I have really good memories of being here in Jeju over the past few years. Of course, I won here recently, and this week is great because I am spending a lot of time with my family, which normally we can’t do as we are on the road.”
Kim is enjoying one of the finest seasons of his career having also won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in May, which was his maiden win on the Asian Tour. He is currently in third place on the Asian Tour Merit list and fourth on Korea’s ranking.
He adds: “I do want to win both money lists although before that I really want to improve my GIR [Greens in Regulation] stats, on both Tours. We will see how it goes for the rest of the year. We just have a lot of tournaments ahead. I just have to keep my head down, do my own thing and hope to see some results.”
He has finished top of the Korean ranking once before, in 2010, a year after he turned professional. That early success prompted him to head to the PGA Tour qualifying school at the end of 2010 where he hit the headlines by making it through at the tender age of 20. His lost his playing privileges there a year later before deciding to mainly focus on playing in Korea.
The 31-year-old says much of his success has been built on a constant desire to continually improve.
He said: “Honestly speaking, I do get nervous and feel the pressure but that’s because I want to play better and better every week and improve myself. I do put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Over the past month he has been working with Korean golf coach Gyutae Kim, who has also coached PGA Tour star and compatriot Sungjae Im.
“I have had some issues with my putting the last month or so. I haven’t been making the putts that I am supposed to, but I am slowly climbing up the mountain. Hoping to see some good results this week,” Bio said.
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