The ultimate test at the ‘Thinking Players course’
Ballantine’s Championship at Blackstone GC, Seoul
After India, Malaysia and China, South Korea is the fourth Asian country on the European Tour event list. This week, Korean golf fans have the opportunity to watch their favourite golfers of the tour at the Blackstone Golf Club, in the Korean capital of Seoul. From April 26-29 all eyes in Korea will be on local golf ace Y.E. Young, who would love to have his fourth European Tour win on Korean soil.
The €2,205,000 tournament will offer a relatively new (2010) and definitively challenging course, to a world-class field. Englishman Lee Westwood was Blackstone’s conqueror 12 months ago, when his 12 under par total of 276 gave him a one shot victory over Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez. Among the participants will be Major Champion Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter, who is looking for his third European Tour title on Asian soil.
Eleven-time European Tour
champion Paul Casey will tee off at Blackstone
, just like Adam Scott, who won four of his eight tour wins in Asia. The Australian is in good shape after a great 2011 season, in which he finished joint runner-up behind Charl Schwartzel in the Masters Tournament before winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. In Korea we will also see Dustin Johnson, the American Ryder Cup player who finished fourth at Blackstone last year.
One of the players to watch is Korean home favourite Yang, who became the first Asian to win a Major Championship when he famously held off Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National in 2009. Yang, who won the 2007 HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the 2010 Volvo China Open in Suzhou, will try to do better than he did in the last two Ballantine's Championships, where he did not make the cut to participate in the final days at Blackstone Golf Club.
The Korean event organisers are rightfully proud of the venue for this championship, a brand new course
of great length and demand on accuracy. “It’s long, but it’s not all about power and long hitting; it’s a thinking player’s course. It’s also very scenic with fantastic views, creeks, lakes and forest glens", says Tournament Director David Williams. The course is also quite hilly, so it will be physically demanding as well. Most of the greens are undulating and offer some testing pin positions, which will make this tournament extremely exciting to watch for golf fans on the course and on TV.
Unique character and layout
There are some holes at Blackstone that deserve special attention for their unique character and layout. Hole 4 is arguably the most spectacular of the entire course with its panoramic views and dramatic drop from the tee down to the fairway. Furthermore, there are some excellent par threes; the 7th hole is a 218 metres long par 3. This hole features a tranquil lake that accounts for most of the area between the tee and the green. Playing this par 3 hole requires great accuracy, because the green is right behind the lake, guarded by bunkers at the back.
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