The tournament is being played at the Horizon Golf and Country Club in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and the prize money is US$2 million dollars. It is the last tournament of the 2012 season and only the top 60 in the final Order of Merit get their full card for 2013.
Unho is currently in 66th position and on the outside looking in. He will first need to make the cut and then earn enough to pass the players in front of him.
The player on “The Bubble” which is the 60th position is Chawalit Plaphol from Thailand who is flanked by an Aussie duo of Adam Blyth (59th) and Adam Groom (61st).
The pressure on all players around “The Bubble” will be extremely high especially on players like Unho who cannot rely on country exemptions which only apply to the top players who don’t have a full tour card from the respective Asian countries.
He decided to turn professional and do an Australian PGA Traineeship which takes three years to complete and requires the trainee to work in a Pro shop, play weekly tournaments and pass assignments on business management, coaching, club repair and sports science.
This he did successfully and he headed up to Asia to teach and play in local tournaments before gaining his Asian Tour card in 1997. That year he finished 94th in the money list which wasn’t good enough to retain his card.
Continuing to teach and base himself in Singapore Unho’s game started to improve and he regained his Asian Tour card in 2001 and kept it until 2011. His best years were 2003 and 2006 where he finished 17th and 18th on the order of merit. In 2006 he also qualified to play in the British Open.
He finds himself in almost the same position (66th) as last year where he finished 68th in the money list and must do well this week to get his job back for 2013.
The start of the year was not good with a string of miss cuts. It was at the Handa Singapore Masters that PTGC Co-Director Lawrie Montague and I attended to work with our Asian Tour professionals and where Unho had a long session
with Lawrie discussing what he needed to do to improve his performance to score lower.
It was decided that Unho’s focus had been too much on his technique and that he needed to free himself up and just play golf. The result was him making his 1st cut of the year and a Tied 21st in the tournament.
The first round of the Idzkandar Johor Open has been suspended due to inclement weather but the good news is that Unho has shot a superb seven under 65 to trail leader David Lipsky by one.
We wish him good golfing for the rest of the tournament and that he gives himself an early Christmas present by getting into the top sixty on the Order of Merit.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College (Australia, Thailand and Indonesia in 2013)
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