Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) rising stars Keita Nakajima (23) and Riki Kawamoto (23) will greet Korean fans for the first time.
Nakajima and Kawamoto will compete in the four-day Shinhan Donghae Open ($1.4 billion in prize money), co-hosted by the Korea Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour, JGTO and Asian Tour, at Club 72 Country Club Ocean Course in Jung-gu, Incheon.
Nakajima is a rookie who started playing on the JGTO in the second half of last year and is already second on the money list with two wins this year. He also won the JGTO as an amateur in 2021.
He is no stranger to Korean fans either. He finished runner-up at the Hana Bank Invitational, co-hosted by the Korean Tour and JGTO, in Japan in June, where he battled Yang Ji-ho (34) for the title until the end.
Nakajima is an “all-around player” with good distance, accuracy and putting ability. He currently ranks 12th on the JGTO in driving distance (305.98 yards) and 31st in accuracy (59.959%). His biggest strengths are his greens in regulation (2nd-73.710%) and average putts (2nd-69.172).
Nakajima attended the official press conference at Shinhan Bank’s headquarters in Jung-gu, Seoul on Friday and said, “It’s a tournament co-organized by three tours, so it means a lot to me to participate. I’ve been doing well in Japan lately, so I want to continue this momentum in Korea. It’s my first time in Korea. I hope the Korean fans will enjoy watching me play.”
Nakajima added, “I haven’t played the course yet, but I’m going to play every round to gain information about the course. If I play well based on this information, I will have a chance to win,” said Nakajima.
Kawamoto, who was also present at the press conference, has an advantage in the distance of his drives. He averages a whopping 325.06 yards off the tee, topping the JGTO in that category. Like many long hitters, his drive accuracy is only 50 percent (94th), but he’s able to hit short irons the rest of the way and has a very high green percentage (tied for eighth – 69.44 percent).
“I’ve been looking forward to coming to Korea since last year,” said Kawamoto, who said “hello” in Korean. It’s my first time playing a tournament in Korea. I hope I can play a part in raising the excitement. I will do my best to perform well.”
Kawamoto, who finished fifth at last year’s Shinhan Donghae Open in Japan and fifth at this year’s Hana Bank Invitational, said, “It’s time to move up. I think it’s time for me to win the title,” Kawamoto said.
Unfortunately, Kawamoto was unable to face off against Korean Tour standout Chung Chan-min. Chung is averaging 324.57 yards of long drive on the Korean Tour this season, which is similar to Kawamoto’s distance.
Chung will tee off in the first round at 7:20 a.m. on July 7 against Sadom Wakwukanjana (Thailand) and Gensei Hirata (Japan), while Kawamoto will tee off at 7:40 a.m. against Jiho Yang (Korea) and Kevin Yuan (Australia).메이저놀이터
Nakajima will tee off his first round at 12:00 noon with Kim Bi-Oh (33) and Song Young-Han (32), who are looking to win for the second straight week.