Youth to the Fore

Asia's young guns have excelled themselves in recent events both home and away

Jeunghun Wang

These are golden days for Asian golf and it would be natural for expectations to rocket sky-high as we embark on a hectic summer season that includes The Open and culminates with golf’s long-awaited return into the Olympic Games in August.

Over a brilliant, if not magical, run of four weeks, Asia’s youth brigade emerged victorious in tournaments on the European Tour and Asian Tour, creating a string of firsts that would only continue to underline the growing strength of the professional game in the Far East.

And most certainly, the Asian Tour can stake a claim to the recent success stories with rising stars Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang of Korea, currently ranked fourth and second respectively on its Order of Merit, having played starring roles in the golden run alongside another massive prospect in China’s Li Haotong.

Lee, 22, started the ball rolling with a gutsy win at the Shenzhen International before Li, 20, raised home cheers by succeeding countryman Wu Ashun as champion of the Volvo China Open.

Then came the heroics from 21-year-old Wang, who birdied the 18th hole three times on the last day to lift the Hassan II Trophee in Morocco via a play-off. The slender Korean rode on his rich vein of form to make it back-to-back triumphs at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open where he rewrote several records as well.

He became the first Asian to win in successive weeks on the European Tour and also the youngest golfer to win back-to-back, beating the record held previously by the late and legendary Seve Ballesteros.


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