Golf: Olympics no longer a pipe dream for golfer Kim

PETALING JAYA: The peace pipe has been smoked, and national No. 3 golfer Kim Leun Kwang (pic) now has reason to smile.

Like most of the local professionals, the 25-year-old has yet to see any competitive action this year and is happy that the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour may resume in September

The PGM Tour organisers have said that they launch their delayed 2020 season calendar on Aug 19.

Although most of the country’s sports came to a halt in March with the movement control order, the country’s sole professional Tour had been stalled since January due to an ongoing feud between PGM and Professional Golfer Association of Malaysia (PGAM).

However, the two parties appear to have settled their differences.

“Hopefully there’s some good news soon (from PGM). We are all keeping our fingers crossed. If the Tour does make a comeback, it’s good for us,” said Leun Kwang.

“Definitely looking forward to playing again competitively, it’s been pretty boring and the livelihood of those involved in golf has been affected. Then again, stopping the pandemic is still the No. 1 priority.”

Leun Kwang is hopeful there would be a significant number of Asian Development Tour (ADT) sanctioned events, which offer world ranking points, making the calendar.

Leun Kwang has also refused to give up on his bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics yet, which has been pushed back to July 23-Aug 8 next year.

Currently ranked No. 719 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Leun Kwang, alongside Ben Leong (585) and Nicholas Fung (749) are among those who still stand a chance before the qualification ends on June 21, 2021.

The projected cut for the 60-man list is the world’s top 30. Gavin Kyle Green, who plays on the European Tour, is ranked No. 154 and sits in a solid No. 48 on the Olympic rankings.

A nation can qualify a maximum of four players provided they are all in the top 15 on the OWGR. Beyond the top 15, the country’s participation is limited to just two.

Leun Kwang said it would be a dream come true if he qualifies for Tokyo with his best friend Gavin.

“As our borders are still closed, it remains to be seen if PGM and ADT can stage events in Malaysia for now,” said Leun Kwang.

“But we have until next June. Many of us still have a fighting chance.

“Tun Ahmad Sarji (Abdul Hamid, PGM chairman) has been doing a great job in providing local professionals with opportunities over the years. The PGM events make up almost half of the ADT schedule so we don’t have to leave the country to seek OWGR points.”

Leun Kwang did well in last year’s ADT, winning MNRB Championship in Sarawak and came in runner-up at the MIDF Championship in Negri Sembilan.

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