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Kho sets sights on victory at Volvo China Open

Kho sets sights on victory at Volvo China Open

Taichi Kho has his sights set on extending his impressive run of history-making victories by winning the 29th staging of the Volvo China Open at Hidden Grace Golf Club in Shenzhen.


While a DP World Tour victory might sound somewhat over ambitious, the 22-year-old Hong Kong native has already etched his name into the golf history record books when he became the first Hong Kong golfer to win an Asian Tour title at the rain-shortened 2023 World City Championship,

Kho's win came after he made the cut in two Asian Tour events - the DGC Open and the US$2 million International Series Thailand, where he finished in a tie for 34th on 12 under par.

Kho laid the foundation for the stellar start to his professional career with six wins as an amateur. In August 2021, he lost on the second hole of a playoff to Japan's Keita Nakajima at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Dubai, which denied him the chance to compete at the US Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

While for some this would be seen as a mortal wound, Kho takes a more philosophical view when asked if he was disappointed or even more determined to make it to Augusta National.

“There was a bit of both, in a good way,” commented Kho. “With The Masters being such a great event, it is hugely inspiring and motivating for me to try and get there. It is a tournament with so much history, and I am determined that I will go one better next time.”

Kho turned professional in January last year, and claimed his maiden victory in just his fourth professional start. He held off a spirited challenge from New Zealand's Michael Hendry to win the World City Championship by two strokes at Hong Kong Golf Club, Kho’s home club.

Apart from the US$180,000 first prize, Kho also won a place in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Although he failed to make the halfway cut, he gained valuable experience of the game at the very highest level.

Kho was born and raised in Hong Kong, and after graduating high school he attended the University of Notre Dame on a golf scholarship from 2018 to 2022, where he read a course in business.

Kho’s second professional victory came at the 2023 Asian Games in China where he claimed the coveted gold medal. When asked whether winning big cash prizes or representing his country was more important, Kho said that patriotism was highly important.

“It has got to be playing for my country,” commented Kho. “I am representing much more than just myself and I have the honour and pride of representing Hong Kong China.”

Although on paper, given his current world ranking of 369, Kho will be seen as somewhat of an underdog in the US$2.25 million Volvo China Open, he has no illusions about his ability to land yet another professional title, given his most recent performance over the 7,145-yard Neil Haworth-designed golf course.

“It is a great opportunity for me as Hidden Grace Golf Club is a familiar track and there will be lots of support which I am super grateful for,” said Kho, who eagled the final hole in last year’s event to finish second.

For inspiration Kho looks the accomplishments of Tiger Woods and several others.

“I look up to lots of players and I am lucky to be playing with some of them now. However, Tiger Woods for me is so inspirational,” said Kho. “He brought so many people into the game of golf, including myself. For me it is his mental strength and ability to dominate that is so inspiring.

“Mental strength is a huge part, especially at the professional level. Everyone has the ability to hit good and bad shots, but it is how you figure it all out that I believe separates the good and the great.”

Kho remembers well the first time he accomplished every golfer’s dream, and broke par for an 18-hole round of golf.

“It was in December 2015. I had just turned 15 and I shot 68,” Kho said. “I birdied the 17th hole at Hong Kong Golf Club and it is really memorable for me. All my friends had already done it, so I was desperate to join the club!”

Before turning pro Kho was playing to a plus five handicap, so perhaps it was not unreasonable to see him win so soon after making the leap to the professional ranks. Physical and well as mental fitness are tools of his trade that he takes very seriously, and he spends many hours every week working on both.

“I probably spend four sessions a week in the gym, not just lifting but concentrating on my stability and movement to swing,” added Kho. “I also spend a lot of time preparing my body each morning for practising and playing. I love spending time with my four dogs, and I have also taken up reading recently to make sure I have some downtime away from golf.”

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