Korea-Japan long-hitting battle on first day of Simone’s Asia Pacific Cup

The first round of the Simonez Asia Pacific Cup kicks off today and will feature a long-hitting battle between Korea and Japan.

Organized by the Asian Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF), the Simonez Asia Pacific Cup will take place at the prestigious Pondok Indah Golf Course in Indonesia, home of the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.

It is the only golf event in the world to take place during the Christmas holiday season and will feature 58 professional and amateur players representing 16 countries, including South Korea, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Australia and the United States, competing against each other in a battle of nations.

Hwang Yoo-min, the second-longest hitter on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour this season, is paired with Rookie of the Year Kim Min-byul to take on Japanese rookie Jo Baba Saki-jo in a “Korea-Japan Longest Hitter Showdown”.

Hwang is a diminutive 5-foot-6-inch golfer who can hit long shots in excess of 280 yards. Baba Saki is a Japanese hopeful who was crowned the US Women’s Amateur Champion this year. This is her professional debut, and she has a long game from her 5-foot-7 frame. She has been known to hit her driver 280 yards.

Fellow Korean aces Lee Da-yeon and Lee So-young will play in the same group as last year’s individual winners Princess Mary Superior and Bianca Pagdanganan (Philippines). Lee has eight career KLPGA Tour wins and Lee has six career victories, making her a strong favorite to win the event.

The highest-ranked player in the field, No. 9 Ataya Thititjer (Thailand), is paired with Jaravi Boonchant for a first-round matchup with Japanese favorites Nasa Hataoka and Moeka Nishihata. Nasa Hataoka won the Dio Implant LA Open last year.

Kim Min-sol and Lee Hyo-song will try to win the championship with their amateur spirit. They are paired with Thai amateurs Ayla Galitsky and Subchaya Vinichaidam in the first round. Kim finished runner-up to Galitsky at this year’s Women’s Asia Pacific Amateur Championships (WAAP), so this will be a great opportunity for her to redeem herself.

The tournament will be played over three rounds of 54 holes from Sept. 21-23. A total of $750,000 is up for grabs, including $550,000 for individuals and $200,000 for teams.

JTBC Golf, the tournament’s host broadcaster, will broadcast all rounds live from 12:00 to 16:00 every day from the 21st to the 23rd. The tournament will be broadcast live or recorded in 24 countries, including Korea.

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