Tournament article

Vantelin Tokai Classic 2022

Kim returns for title defence at Vantelin Tokai Classic

Kim returns for title defence at Vantelin Tokai Classic

Reigning JGTO money list winner Chan Kim is in Japan following a four-month absence to defend his Vantelin Tokai Classic title at the Miyoshi Country Club's West Course this week.

The 32-year-old American will be hoping that a return to Aichi will help him rediscover his best form.

Kim has made only four JGTO starts to date and was last seen in action at The Crowns back in May, where he finished tied-12th.

He had since spent the bulk of his time in America competing in the Major championships and several PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events but met with little success.

Backed by a victory at Miyoshi Country Club last year and another win at the Dunlop Phoenix in November, Kim was crowned the 2020/21 season JGTO number one as well as ending the year as world number 62.

However, he has slipped to number 163 no thanks to a poor run of form that saw him miss the cut in four of his last outings.

Kim has a shot at becoming the first golfer ever to successfully defend a title in the tournament's 52-year history.

Masahiro Kuramoto, the most successful player with three titles, along with Masashi 'Jumbo' Ozaki, Isao Aoki, Australia's Graham Marsh and Toshimitsu Izwa were the other multiple winners of the tournament but none of them accomplished the feat back-to-back.

Kim will lead a strong field of non-Japanese competitors seeking to maintain their hold on the title with the internationals having won seven of the past 10 editions.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Japan and it’s nice to back,” said Kim.

Shaun Norris of South Africa and Angelo Que of the Philippines, the 2019 and 2018 champions, are not playing this week, but the likes of veteran duo Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines and Brad Kennedy of Australia will be out to contend again after enjoying a top-seven finish at the Panasonic Open last week.