Chan Kim, who finished 2019 ranked 61st in the world, will be the highest-ranked player in the field for the 101st New Zealand Open from 27 February to 1 March in Queenstown.
Kim will be joined by 20 other professionals from the Japan Tour, which include 10 players ranked in the top-20 on the 2019 Japan Tour Order of Merit with nine of the 21 players competing having won on the Japan Tour last year.
In confirming the Japan Tour field, Tournament Director Michael Glading expressed his delight in adding Chan Kim to this list of players.
“Chan will be one of the most exciting players to watch in Queenstown this year. He hits the ball a prodigious distance, and never holds back. His win in Japan’s most prestigious tournament last year has rocketed him into the top 100 in the world, and we are thrilled to have secured him” said Glading.
Kim is excited to come to New Zealand.
“This will be my first trip to New Zealand, and I can’t wait to experience one of the most beautiful places in the world. I am really looking forward to this event.”
Joining Kim will be several other first-time visitors to New Zealand, including Yosuke Asaji, who won twice last year, along with other 2019 winners Kazuki Higa, Tomoharu Otsuki and 12-time tour winner Katsumasa Miyamoto.
Other Japan Tour winners from 2019 heading to Queenstown late this month include Australia’s Brendan Jones, perennial favourite Toshinori Muto, Mikumu Horikawa and Rikuya Hoshino, who finished fifth in the 100th New Zealand Open last March.
“We have an incredible mixture of talent joining us this year – it’s exciting that so many young stars like Higa, Asaji, Hoshino, Kozuma, Horikawa, and Tokimatsu, all of whom are proven winners in their mid-20s, are being joined by legends like Brendan Jones, Muto and Miyamato, who have won an incredible 34 titles between them,” said Glading.
“We had three Japanese players finish in the top 10 of the 100th New Zealand Open last year, and with this being unquestionably the strongest field from the Japan Tour we’ve ever had, we could well be looking at a Japanese winner in 2020.”
The 101st New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sport, will be held at Millbrook Resort and The Hills February 27 to March 1, 2020.