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Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell will be in the field for the first ever Asian Tour event to be held in the UK. The Northern Irishman has confirmed his acceptance of an invitation to line up alongside the biggest golfing names from the Far East at next month’s $2million International Series England, which will be held at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort in Northumberland.
Fans can apply for free tickets to the tournament - held from June 2-5 - to cheer on the likes of 2010 US Open champ McDowell, 2005 winner Michael Campbell and the cream of the Asian Tour. American Sihwan Kim, currently ranked first on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Korean Joohyung Kim, last season’s number one, and the rest of the current top 10 will all be present, as will Thailand’s 15-year-old wonderkid Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwa.
“The International Series England is a landmark event for the Asian Tour which provides our members with a great opportunity to compete internationally in an exciting, new location,” said Cho Minn Thant, the Asian Tour’s Commissioner & CEO.
“An incredibly strong field will assemble for the tournament, which is a reflection of the appetite our members have for the International Series and will also allow us to showcase the Asian Tour’s depth in world-class talent to European fans. We have also received enormous interest from international players wanting to be part of the Asian Tour having seen our steady growth over the past few months.”
Sihwan Kim has won twice this season to sit atop the rankings, including the first International Series event in Thailand, while Joohyung Kim, who at 19 became the second youngest winner of the Order of Merit title in January, has continued that form with top-10 finishes in his last three events. He will head to the UK after playing the PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week.
Joohyung Kim is one of the youngsters being tipped as the next big thing in world golf, but even he is four years older than Ratchanon, the 15-year-old amateur already ranked 268 in the world. He came to the fore when he won the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup in Thailand in April to become the youngest male player to win on one of the game’s major Tours.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the 2019 Order of Merit champion and six-time winner on Tour, Malaysian Gavin Green, the 2017 number one, and Australian Scott Hend – the most successful international player on the Tour with 10 victories and the 2016 Order of Merit winner will also be in action at the course in Hexham, just over 20 miles from Newcastle. Others set to play include Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, South Africa’s Justin Harding, Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, a two-time winner on the Tour since last year’s restart, and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, also a winner this season.
England’s Lee Slattery, Wu Ashun from China, Jovan Rebula from South Africa, Americans Peter Uihlein and Andy Ogletree, both former winners of the US Amateur Championship, and rising Australian stars Blake Windred and Louis Dobbelaar have also been invited. And a host of Asian Tour legends will be in attendance, in particular Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant – the winner of a record 18 Asian Tour titles – and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, who like Thaworn, has claimed two Order of Merit titles.
The International Series England is the second of 10 International Series events this season promoted by LIV Golf. Fans can apply for free tickets to catch all the action by registering at intlserieseng.seetickets.com (opens in new tab).
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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