Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Korea Championship Tips 2023

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It was a positive week in Japan with Yannik Paul (30/1) and Calum Hill (125/1) both finishing inside the top 6 and rewarding us with full each-way payouts. One more birdie from Hill would have seen him make the play-off eventually won by Lucas Herbert, however overall I shouldn’t grumble too much.

We venture across the Sea of Japan to South Korea this week for our final week in the East before heading to mainland Europe next week for the Italian Open. Similar to last week, a field of 156 will tee it up this week with a mix of DP World Tour players alongside the best that the Korean Tour can offer.

Once again at this level of field, Rasmus Hojgaard rates as the bookies’ favourite at around the 12/1 mark in a very similar looking betting market to last week. Adrian Meronk, Jordan Smith, Robert MacIntyre, Antoine Rozner and Yannik Paul all follow behind Hojgaard in the 20/1 to 25/1 bracket before the field begins to thin out a little.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Korea Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System during Major season. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, 6,200-strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Overview. Another week, another Jack Nicklaus design for us to get our teeth into on the DP World Tour.

Whereas last week’s test was a short, parkland Par 70, this week’s challenge is the polar opposite in many respects. Measuring 7,470 yards for its Par of 72, this course has been carved from reclaimed land close to the airport and is close enough to the sea for it to have a coastal feel to it, without actually flanking the coast.

Exposed fairways and an additional 400 yards in length compared to last week will appeal to those players who are more adept with the driver, however water hazards are aplenty to punish the wayward. Bentgrass is used exclusively from tee to green.

Aside from the Genesis Championship and Shinhan Donghae Open events that form this week’s Course Stats, the track also hosted the 2015 Presidents Cup which saw the US team record a narrow 15.5/14.5 victory over the Internationals. Branden Grace top scored with 5 points for the International team, with playing partner Louis Oosthuizen halving his singles match for 4.5 points. Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson top scored for the Americans with 3.5 points each.

korea championship tips

Course Winners:  2022: Yeongsu Kim, -6; 2021: Jaekyeong Lee, -14; 2020: Taehoon Kim, -6; 2019: Sungjae Im, -6; 2017: Seung-Hyuk Kim, -18; 2014: Sangmoon Bae, -13; 2013: Sangmoon Bae, -9; 2012: Whee Kim, -4; 2011: Paul Casey, Level Par.

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Korea Championship which might help point us in the right direction. Course stats relate to various events held here on the Korean Tour since 2011: Current Form | First Round Leader Stats | Course Stats | Combined Stats.

Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.

Rain on Wednesday could soften the course ahead of a mixed four days with further showers possible on Friday and Saturday, flanked by two sunny days.

Temperatures will be around 18 Centigrade/64 Fahrenheit with the wind picking up to around 12-15mph in the afternoons, perhaps a little more on Saturday.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors. No skill stats have been captured for the Korean events held here in the past so we’re pretty much in the dark as to what to expect this week.

Winning scores here have varied from level par (Casey, 2011) to -18 (Seung-Hyuk Kim, 2017), so it’s clear that when conditions are challenging that this course is offered plenty of protection, and three of the four events held since Kim’s win have been won at 6-under par to further illustrate that point.

Current Form Of Winners: Incoming form of the winners here at Jack Nicklaus Korea is varied, although the past four winners here had recorded a top-10 finish in one of their previous two starts.

Paul Casey (2011) and Sangmoon Bae (2013) had the most inconspicuous incoming form of the winners, however both had won earlier that season with Casey having won the DP World Tour’s Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain, whereas Bae had broken through on the PGA Tour at the Byron Nelson:

  • 2022: Yeongsu Kim: MC/17/7/MC/47/51/16/32/MC/3/9/MC
  • 2021: Jaekyeong Lee: 16/51/MC/WD/17/MC/15/26/26/MC/9
  • 2020: Taehoon Kim: 3/32/12/4/43/MC/MC/2
  • 2019: Sungjae Im: 21/21/15/26/MC/6/38/11/15/19/2/49
  • 2017: Seung-Hyuk Kim: 18/30/30/1/2/16/MC/41/WD/37/17/28
  • 2014: Sangmoon Bae: MC/24/MC/16/MC/MC/14/MC/15
  • 2013: Sangmoon Bae: 76/MC/MC/MC/MC/31/53/MC/52/MC/MC/54
  • 2012: Whee Kim: 12/MC/41/MC/27/25/35/7/25/5/9
  • 2011: Paul Casey: 38/MC/MC/17/24/MC/MC/54/MC/45/72/47

Course Form Of Winners: Course form would appear to count for something around this layout, despite relatively patchy history. Jaekyeong Lee, Taehoon Kim and Seung-Hyuk Kim had each recorded a top-4 finish before winning here, and in the case of Sangmoon Bae, he successfully defended here in 2014:

  • 2022: Yeongsu Kim: 51/25/21
  • 2021: Jaekyeong Lee: MC/34/2
  • 2020: Taehoon Kim: 3/36/31/MC
  • 2019: Sungjae Im: Debut
  • 2017: Seung-Hyuk Kim: 59/4
  • 2014: Sangmoon Bae: 1
  • 2013: Sangmoon Bae: Debut
  • 2012: Whee Kim: 47
  • 2011: Paul Casey: Debut

In many ways this is a similar conundrum to last week with the local Tour players holding course experience advantage over their visiting peers, however that same dynamic last week didn’t help any of the Japan Tour players break into the final top 10 and perhaps that’s a word of warning again for this week.

Northern European temperatures and conditions on a course that’s close enough to the coast to be affected by the sea breeze should feel comfortable for many of the DP World Tour regulars, and the extra yardage might have a select few licking their lips at the prospect of competing and contending on this Jack Nicklaus design.

My Korea Championship Tips Are As Follows:

Jordan Smith 3pts EW 20/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

At the top of the market the bookies make Rasmus Hojgaard the clear favourite once again, as the talented Dane continues his search for a 4th DP World Tour title which would add a little daylight between his record and that of his twin brother who’s now plying his trade on the PGA Tour.

The raw talent possessed by Rasmus isn’t up for debate, however his conversion rate from strong positions is certainly debatable and he relinquished another strong halfway position last week in Japan to drift down to a tie for 16th by Sunday afternoon. This trend has been going on for some months now – all the way back to the French Open in September in fact when he failed to convert a golden opportunity there – and as a punter I’d want to see a little more conversion from a player who seems ensconced at the top of the market each week at this kind of level.

Yannik Paul was tempting after his final round 67 earned us another each-way return having finished 2nd for us on his previous start in India, however my gut feeling is that this longer Jack Nicklaus design will suit Jordan Smith better than the German and those other players who sit behind the favourite Hojgaard.

Paul Casey being a previous winner here on debut gives us a clue as to the type of player who could readily take to this track, and Jordan’s long, straight driving and relentless churning out of greens in regulation should help him both unlock the scoring holes here as well as keep him out of the water hazards that await those with less control of their long clubs. A field-leading GIR performance last week in Japan backed up an identical accolade on his previous start on another Nicklaus track at Steyn City before the break for The Masters.

For the Somerset man to improve on last week’s 6th place finish to a truly contending performance – where he has a live chance of winning on Sunday afternoon – he’ll have to putt just a little bit better than he has been of late, however we have first-hand evidence from his Portugal Masters win in October that when everything clicks he’s undoubtedly got a good putting week in the locker. 17th for SG Putting last week also suggested a thawing of the flat stick in that respect as the 30 year-old recorded his best putting stats of the calendar year to date on Ishioka’s Bentgrass greens.

At 96th in the OWGR, Smith is on the cusp of a start at next month’s US PGA Championship if he can maintain or improve that position between now and then, and with an ideal course awaiting him this week I’m expecting a bold showing here in South Korea. RESULT: T32

*bet365 Golf Each Way Extra – Up to 12 places for Each Way Golf bets on selected tournaments. Each Way Extra gives you the option to increase or decrease the number of places when you are betting pre-event on the To Win Outright market on selected Golf events – add places on to your Each Way Golf bets for extra security at lower odds, or increase the price by removing places. Bet restrictions apply. For further details of how Each Way Extra works on golf click here.

✅ Bet £10 get £30 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT30 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 new customer offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ ‘Each Way Extra’ promotion where you can choose between 3, 8, 10 or 12 places each way

bet365 New Customer Offer: New Customers only. Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5 and £10 to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. Registration required. The bonus code SPORT30 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Calum Hill 1pt EW 55/1 (5EW, 1/4) with Betfred

An easy addition to my team this week is to keep the faith with Calum Hill after he secured a nice each-way place for us in Japan.

Of course the fancy 3-figure prices of last week have long but disappeared after his 3rd place finish on last week’s Jack Nicklaus test, however given how he played, what he’s capable of, and on a course which if anything should suit a little better, I’m more than happy to stick rather than twist.

A burst of 4 straight birdies to finish his Thursday round turned a disappointing day into a rock solid one and the 28 year-old built from there with another pair of 67s to sit inside the top 10 heading into Sunday, putting him just one (special) round away from recording a second DP World Tour title to well and truly put his dismal 2022 with all its injury issues behind him

As it was, a 5-under 65 was a shot shy of the winning total and a stab at the play-off, however it was positive nonetheless and within that effort there were some eye-catching stats. A neutral SG Putting week was supported by 19th for SG Off the Tee, 13th for Around The Green, 3rd for Approach and 2nd for Tee to Green. Impressive stuff and ideal for this week’s test that should better reward a long, strong performance from tee-to-green.

The Scot’s breakthrough win in 2021 at the Cazoo Classic, another Jack Nicklaus design at the London Club in Kent, came immediately after a 4th place finish the week before at the Hero Open, so perhaps he can do the same here and build on last week’s effort in South Korea. RESULT: MC

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Daniel Hillier 1pt EW 150/1 (5EW, 1/4) with Betfred

At a longer price, talented Kiwi Daniel Hillier makes some appeal.

4 times a winner at lower levels before stepping up to win twice on the Challenge Tour in the past 18 months, Hillier is rapidly finding his feet at DP World Tour level and could be threatening a breakthrough win sooner rather than later.

Plenty long enough off the tee averaging over 305 yards with his drives this season, the 24 year-old has the raw credentials to take to this week’s layout. His best efforts at DP World Tour level have also tended to come on courses with a similar proximity to the seaside too which encourages for this week, with 12th at Fairmont St Andrews last July and 12th again at Vilamoura in October two eye-catching performances.

His best effort at DP World Tour level came at Galgorm Castle in the summer of 2021 though where a Friday 62 put him in a great position to shed his maiden at this level. A weekend pair of 70s left him 2 shots shy of Daniel Gavins’ total, however his card was certainly marked at that stage.

23rd last week in Japan saw his best performances on 2023 in terms of SG Approach (7th) and SG Tee to Green (8th) and even a neutral putting week here in South Korea if those figures are reproduced could see him threaten an each-way payout at a juicy price. RESULT: MC

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Minkyu Kim 0.5pt EW 300/1 (5EW, 1/4) with 10bet

Finally, of the local players, the one who interests me most is Minkyu Kim.

At the age of 22, Kim has already been on the professional circuit for 6 years having turned pro at the tender age of 16, and he’s been breaking records ever since including becoming the youngest ever winner on the Challenge Tour when winning in the Czech Republic a couple of months after his 17th birthday.

The South Korean’s most prestigious title came last year at the co-sanctioned Kolon Korea Open with a strong mix of Asian Tour and Korean Tour players in attendance, played an hour or so drive from this week’s venue at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.

That victory may also carry a little more substance when it comes to this week when a cursory look is taken at the winners’ list there. Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Jazz Janewattananond have all triumphed at Woo Jeong Hills which suggest a level of class, as have Sangmoon Bae (twice) – who’s also twice a winner at this week’s Jack Nicklaus venue – and Seung-hyuk Kim, who also won here in 2017.

Two attempts at this week’s venue have produced finishes of 35th and 28th so he’s had 8 good looks at the task at hand, plus he’s arriving off the back of his best finish of 2023 last week at Jeju Island where he finished in a tie for 3rd place.

Long enough off the tee and with an accurate tee-to-green game, if he can find sufficient greens in regulation this week to mask his one weakness around the greens then he could sneak into the each-way places at a long price. RESULT: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:20BST 24.4.23 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.