Underdogs Vincent and Kim Ready for David vs. Goliath Test at WGC-HSBC Champions
Zimbabwean Scott Vincent and Sihwan Kim of the United States are prepared for one of their career’s biggest tests when they take on the world’s best players at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions which starts on Thursday.
Vincent qualified for the US$10 million Chinese showpiece as one of the leading four players from the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings while Kim secured his place when the number of spots for the Asian Tour was increased to six due to late withdrawals.
The 26-year-old Vincent is the first golfer from Zimbabwe to play on the Asian Tour. While he is still awaiting his breakthrough, he has already enjoyed three runner-up results and six top-10 finishes this season.
“I’m obviously very excited to be here. I was just telling Kelsey (wife) the other day that at the start of the year, I was qualifying to play at the SA Open and a few months later, I’m playing at a WGC event. What a year it has been. I got to play in some amazing tournaments and I’ve also played some amazing golf this year. This is definitely the pinnacle of my golfing career so far and it’s nice to be able to share this with my wife and to rub shoulders with the best players in the world. I’m not expecting a lot but I still very competitive and I want to come out here to compete. I know what I need to do as a player and I’ll try to stick to the game plan. Then we’ll see where that puts us at the end of the week,” said Vincent.
Kim, on the other hand, has posted five top-five finishes on the Asian Tour so far and is currently in ninth place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
The Korean-American was elated upon receiving the news that he was going to tee up at the year’s final WGC event which will feature five of the world’s top six golfers and all of the year’s Major winners.
Kim said, “I’m very excited and I’m very glad I can make it here. I was like one of the last ones to get in here and getting anything here would be a huge bonus. I was in the States and then I got an email that I was the first reserve and a couple of days later, I was in. I was happy and excited. I just got to stay patient and hopefully, I can hole some putts to keep the momentum going. I just got to keep the ball on the fairway as the rough can be very tricky here. If I can do that, you can have lots of birdie chances which I certainly need around here.”
They include world number one Brooks Koepka of the United States, defending champion Justin Rose of England and Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who famously triumphed at The 147th Open Championship this year.
The home challenge will be led by China’s highest ranked player Li Haotong. Li, who is currently ranked 54th in the world, finished tied-seventh at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2015 which remains his best result at the event so far.
“I just want a chance to play better, and to have a good performance, as well, and to enjoy this great event, great week here. Winning in Dubai was certainly the highlight for me this year. I want to thank the China Golf Association for giving me the opportunity to compete across the world and to have that chance to win such a great event. It has been an amazing year. I feel that I will have a breakthrough this year because I have a pretty good momentum and I’m in pretty good shape. It is a lot of pressure, but I think right now I’m much better to compete. I think three years ago, I was one behind in the last or second last group. So I enjoy it more and I’m more used to it I think,” said Li.
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