Kim Min-sol warms up, “I don’t care about the Chinese in-ring, I just want to play my game well”
“I don’t care about my opponent, I just need to play my game. I will play with confidence.”
Kim Min-sol (17), the youngest member of the Korean women’s golf team, is confident of winning a medal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
For the first time ever, professional players will be allowed to compete in the golf competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kicks off on Wednesday, shaking up the medal race, especially after a strong showing by China, which includes women’s world No. 1 In Ling Ling, who will be battling for medal honors with South Korea.
China will be represented at the tournament by world No. 1 Yin Ruling, who plays on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour. Yin has two wins on the LPGA Tour this year and has finished third in her last three events, making her the new world number one. In terms of performance and name recognition alone, she is a cut above the Korean national team, which is comprised of amateurs.
Park won the gold medal in Incheon in 2014, but the South Korean team failed to repeat at Jakarta-Palembang 2018. This time, she will attempt to regain the gold medal after nine years.
Playing in her final official event before the Asian Games at the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour’s OK Financial Group Eatman Open at Club 72 Skye Course in Incheon on Sunday, Kim finished in fifth place and said she is ready for the Asian Games.
“I don’t have a lot of time to practice specifically for the Asian Games (after the tournament),” she said. “I’ve been looking for things to improve on while playing in tournaments like this one, and I’ve been working on my shot feeling.”
As golf is an individual sport, rather than training together as a team, each member of the national team trains individually and then flies out together just before the start of the Asian Games for two to three days of course acclimatization before competing in individual and team events. Kim Min-sol will be joined by Yoo Hyun-jo and Lim Ji-yu in the medal hunt under the Korean flag.
“I’ve watched a lot of videos of LPGA players,” says Kim, “but I’m not intimidated by the idea of competing with them, I just need to play my game well,” she says. “The Asian Games is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” she said, adding, “My goal is to win a gold medal, and my older sisters are really good, so I’ll try to play with confidence.”
Kim Min-sol is known for her powerful shots from her tall height of 1.78 meters. She is a promising player who has already been recognized in the domestic amateur and professional stages.
Last August, she won the Songambaek Amateur Golf Championship and the Blue Wonbae Korean Junior, both of which are considered majors for amateurs, and in June, she tied for fourth at the Korea Women’s Open and tied for ninth at the Doosan E&C Weave Championship. Most notably, she was recognized for her long drives of over 300 yards.
Although he is the youngest member of the national team, he has the highest expectations.
“I’m tall, but I’m the cutie on the team,” he said of his role, adding, “There’s not a lot of pressure. The seniors also have their own strengths, so if we utilize each other’s strengths well, I expect good results,” she said, adding that she is confident in her medal hunt.
Women’s golf at the Hangzhou Asian Games will be held at the West Lake International Golf Club in Hangzhou, China, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. Two gold medals are up for grabs in the individual and three-player team events 굿모닝토토.