8 Korean golfers tee it up this week in Sony Open

January 15, 2015
Bae Sang-moon is coming off a sixth place finish in last week's Tournament of Champions. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Bae Sang-moon is coming off a sixth place finish in last week’s Tournament of Champions. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

By Brian Han

Five South Korean and three Korean American golfers will compete at the Sony Open in Hawaii beginning Thursday.

Bae Sang-moon, who finished sixth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last Friday, is the leading contender for the title among Koreans. Bae played well through three rounds at the Hyundai Tournament, but fell short in his bid for the win in the final round of the tournament.

Notable players also include Noh Seung-yul and K.J. Choi.

Noh needs a title in the tournament to participate in the 2015 Presidents Cup, being held in Korea, as a member of the international team.

Choi, 45, was the 2008 Sony Open champion. In his 2015 season debut, Choi will try to prove he is still a contender despite his age.

Park Sung-joon. 28, and Kim Hyung-sung, 34, will also be playing this week

As for Korean Americans, Kevin Na, John Huh and James Hahn will also be making their season debuts.

Na is still looking for his first win since 2011, but has been playing well giving him a No. 25 world ranking.

The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the calendar year, featuring about 140 golfers who are qualified to play in the 2014-15 season.