“I want to compete again”… ‘Hana Bank Invitational’ opens doors for ‘sports exchange’ in Northeast Asia
“If there is a tournament in Japan, I will play again,” says Go Gun-taek, winner of the Korean Tour 2023 season opener. “I would love to play in a Korean Tour event in Japan,” says Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) long-hitting Riki Kawamoto.
The Hana Bank Invitational has been held at Isumi GC in Chiba, Japan, since April 15. This is the first time the Hana Bank Invitational, co-organized by the Korea Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour and the JGTO, has been held in Japan.
The tournament is a truly international event, with 76 Korean players, 60 of the JGTO’s top ranked players, and 144 players representing other Asian countries such as China, the Philippines, and Australia. The winner will receive two years of Korean Tour and JGTO seeding.
In particular, the tournament is recognized for its role in promoting friendship and sports and cultural exchanges between Northeast Asia. Hana Financial Group organized the first Korean-Chinese professional golf tour, the Korea-China Tour Invitational, in 2008 and held it six times over three years.
In 2018, it expanded the scope of exchanges to the three countries of Korea, China, and Japan by including the JGTO. This year, the organizers decided to hold the tournament in Japan in order to go beyond golf exchanges between Korea and Japan to revitalize sports and cultural exchanges in the Northeast Asian region and to provide a new direction for the development of Asian golf.
As expected by the organizers, the tournament has become a meaningful event that lays the foundation for sports exchanges in Northeast Asia. While the field was filled with fierce competition for the title, it was also a place for friendship and exchange.
In the first and second rounds of the tournament, Korean Tour and JGTO players Jang Tawang and Chung Chan-min played together, building not only goodwill but also strong friendships. After the second round, Kawamoto said, “Korean players have good shots and a lot of distance,” adding, “Chanmin speaks some Japanese. We talked about things like training methods in English. We had a great time chatting about the weather, restaurants, and other things,” he said.
The players who participated in the tournament were also satisfied. Song Young-han, who won the Rookie of the Year award in both the Korean Tour and the JGTO, said, “It’s motivating to compete with Korean Tour players,” and welcomed the tournament, adding, “I hope to do well as the Korean players are outstanding.”
Ko Gun-taek, the winner of the DB Insurance Promi Open, the opening event of the Korean Tour this season, said, “I learned a lot from playing against Japanese players in terms of recovery, such as short game and putting,” adding, “The pace of the game is also fast, which helps me stay focused and tense. I will compete again if there is a tournament in Japan.”메이저사이트
Kawamoto also expressed his desire to play on the Korean Tour, saying, “If I have the opportunity to play on the Korean Tour, I would like to go to Korea and compete.”
“We have plans for sports exchanges,” said Kim Young-joo, Head of ESG Planning at Hana Bank. “We plan to contribute to the development of a sustainable sports industry by expanding exchanges with Asian countries not only for golf but also for other sports operated by the group, such as soccer, basketball, and billiards.”