x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kim has Dubai showpiece in his sights

The American wants to qualify for Tour finale, but he has to perform a juggling act between the PGA and European events this year.

Anthony Kim is intent on finishing his season in Dubai this year.
Anthony Kim is intent on finishing his season in Dubai this year.

Anthony Kim has set his sights on finishing his season on a high in Dubai after the American underlined his commitment to the European Tour ahead of this week's Ballantine's Championship. Kim, who also plays on the PGA Tour, missed the season-ending Dubai World Championship last year even though he qualified for the lucrative, 60-man showpiece. He cited a tiring global season as the reason he did not travel to the Emirates.

"I'm going to do the best I can to go to Dubai at the end of the season," he said. "I'm going to do my best to qualify for the Race to Dubai. I'm committed to playing both tours equally." Kim finished 38th in the Race to Dubai after amassing more than ?750,000 (Dh3.7 million) from 12 events and he has already made a solid start to his new European campaign with a third-place finish at the Masters.

"I am committed to getting my minimum events in. To be perfectly honest, I'd like to play more," added the 24-year-old. "I signed up for the European Tour this year, and it wasn't a tough decision. I want to play all over the world and I think it's important for young players like myself and others to grow the game wherever we can. I have such a great time when I do play on the European Tour. There's a different feel than the PGA Tour, but at the same time, it's very relaxing and the players seem to get on a bit better than the PGA Tour."

Kim finished 13th at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at the start of the European season in January. He has plans to join Ernie Els, Thongchai Jaidee and YE Yang, at Pinx Golf Club tomorrow on the South Korean island of Jeju for the Ballantine's Championship and is looking to continue a recent hot-streak. After finishing third at the Honda Classic at the start of March, Kim became only the fifth player under 25 to win three US PGA Tour titles. He won the Houston Open before finishing four shots behind Phil Mickelson at Augusta, and was struggling with his driver.

"I've been scoring well. I've been playing pretty good golf," he said. "I'm pretty happy about how I'm playing, but mostly about how I'm chipping and putting. So if I can keep that up, I should be in good shape. "The golf course seems to be short enough where the driver won't be too big of an issue, and I've been working hard to try to get that back into play, so I'm looking forward to a great week."

After Jaidee prevailed amid howling winds and unseasonally low temperatures last year, the wind and rain which have already disrupted practice on Jeju, in the Korea Strait, is set to continue. "The wind is incredible. It's like playing in Hawaii," said Kim, who finished sixth two years ago, 10 shots adrift. "Two years ago when I came, the wind blew so much, I'm glad I had a little bit of weight on me because I could have blown off with the rest of the golf balls that got blown off the greens. "The wind is incredible, but we play golf outdoors, so you have to learn how to play with the wind, and just overcome the adversity."

* PA