The 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen will headline the field for this year's Ballantine's Championship, which returns to Blackstone Golf Club in Korea for a third consecutive year.
Oosthuizen will join home favourites YE Yang and KT Kim for the Championship’s sixth edition, which takes place this week.
The line-up of leading international players set for Korea continues to demonstrate that the Ballantine’s Championship has cemented its position as one of Asia’s most successful golf tournaments.
Christian Porta, CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted that the Ballantine’s Championship continues to attract such a wealth of both talent and interest from all over the world, again reinforcing the increasing importance of Korea as a world-class golf destination. We look forward to another exciting edition of this prestigious golf tournament.”
World Number Six Oosthuizen will make his debut in the Ballantine’s Championship, hoping to add the title to his increasingly impressive CV, having captured his sixth European Tour title in last month’s Volvo Golf Champions in his native South Africa.
The 30 year old, who lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews three years ago, came close to adding a second Major Championship to his list of achievements, when he lost in a play-off to Bubba Watson in the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National last April. He went on to win the Maybank Malaysian Open the following week and will be hoping to claim a second victory on Asian soil when he heads to Blackstone Golf Club, in Icheon, near the Korean capital of Seoul.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting Korea and to playing in the Ballantine’s Championship for the first time,” said Oosthuizen. “I got my first win in Asia last year and it would be nice to challenge for another in April. I’ve heard good things about the tournament and I look forward to experiencing it myself.”
Leading the home hopes will be Yang and Kim, with both players striving to become the first Korean to win the Ballantine’s Championship.
Yang became the first Asian player to win a Major when he held off Tiger Woods to win the 2009 US PGA Championship. He finished tied 15th last year and will be hoping to improve again this time round, as he searches for a third European Tour title.
“The Ballantine’s Championship is always an important event for the Korean players and it is one I always look forward to,” he said. “Ballantine’s always puts on a great Championship for us and really look after us, so hopefully I can do well in return.”
Kim is a former Korean Amateur Champion and won the 2007 Maekyung Open in his second start on the Asian Tour. He finished in a share of 54th position in last year’s Ballantine’s Championship, which was won by Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.
Wiesberger finished five strokes clear of Scotland’s Richie Ramsay to claim his maiden European Tour title. He joined the roll of honour which previously included inaugural winner Graeme McDowell (2008), Thongchai Jaidee (2009), Marcus Fraser (2010) and Lee Westwood (2011).
The Ballantine’s Championship was established in 2008 and builds on Ballantine’s long-standing association with golf. In addition to the Championship, Ballantine’s sponsors several top-flight players and events, as well as invests in grass-roots activity such as the Golf Fund in China and the Road to the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea.