Korean golfers start slow in final week of Presidents Cup qualifiers

September 4, 2015
Bae Sang-moon (AP)

Bae Sang-moon (AP)

By Brian Han

There’s less than month left until the 2015 Presidents Cup, which will be one of the most significant global golfing events to be held in Asia. More specifically, it will be hosted by the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, South Korea.

There’s one problem.

South Korea’s PGA Tour golfers haven’t been playing well enough to secure a spot on the International team. This week’s event at the Deutsche Bank Championship is the last chance for players to make it into the lineup.

Bae Sang-moon is the only native player in the field the event. He’s coming off of a tough week at the Barclays where he faltered by shooting a 2-over 72 in the final round after holding a 54-hole lead.

He opened the Deutsche Bank Championship with a 2-under 69 on Friday putting him four strokes off of leader Brendon De Jonge.

The 29-year-old is in a peculiar position and will have to put his professional career on hold due to a law-mandated two year stint in the South Korean army. He will begin the term soon after his season is over.

Bae is the second highest ranked South Korean at no. 20 for those eligible for the South Korean national team, so he most likely will not be playing beyond the PGA Tour’s final event at the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola.

An Byeong-hun is no.12, which puts him right on the brink of making the team, but because he’s not in the field this week, making the team is pretty much out of his control. The best he or Bae can hope for is to be chosen as captain’s picks by Nick Price.

Korean New Zealander Danny Lee is another story. The 25-year-old is no. 10 on the list and has a chance to play in the city where he was born. He mentioned that his biggest goal for the season was to make it onto the Presidents Cup team, but just as a form of insurance, he’ll need to finish strong.

After shooting a 1-under 70, Lee is definitely still in the mix with three more days of competition left. Hot on his tail is Australian Steven Bowditch, but after a 5-over 76, he may be out of the picture unless he can figure out his game by the weekend.

At no. 13, another Australian John Senden also shot a 5-over 76.

Korean American Kevin Na has also expressed his desire to be on the U.S. squad, but with stiffer competition and no wins this season, it will be difficult for him to climb out of the no.17 spot and into the top-10. He shot a 1-over 72 in his opening round.

Jason Day tops the list for the International Team, and Jordan Spieth leads the way for the U.S. team.


The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea opened its doors in 2010 and underwent a series of minor restorations to better fit professional competition. The 7,412-yard par 72 course will host some of the world’s most talented players through Aug. 5-7.

The Presidents Cup committee held entertainment at a premium and in order to do so also cut down the number of matches from 34 to 30, while also making changes to the course that would increase scoring chances.

“As the competition features top golfers, the difficulty of the course has been raised so that matches can be decided by birdies or eagles,” a representative said in a press release.