European Golf Tour
PGA European - Ballantine's Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, April 25th through Sunday, April 28th
SITE: Blackstone Golf Club (North and West Nines), Seoul, South Korea
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,281
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 5 583 yds10 - Par 4 443 yds
2 - Par 4 419 yds11 - Par 4 411 yds
3 - Par 3 190 yds12 - Par 4 447 yds
4 - Par 4 425 yds13 - Par 3 222 yds
5 - Par 5 534 yds14 - Par 4 355 yds
6 - Par 4 372 yds15 - Par 5 617 yds
7 - Par 3 238 yds16 - Par 3 189 yds
8 - Par 4 423 yds17 - Par 4 446 yds
9 - Par 4 424 yds18 - Par 5 543 yds
36 3,608 Yds36 3,673 Yds
Annual:  6th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et) - taped
Defending Champion:  Bernd Wiesberger
Runner-Up:  Richie Ramsay
Tournament Record:  264 (Graeme McDowell, Jeev Milkha Singh, 2008)
54-Hole Record:  198 (Graeme McDowell, Jeev Milkha Singh, 2008)
36-Hole Record:  132 (Graeme McDowell, 2008)
Course Record:  63 (Brett Rumford, 2011)
Total Purse:  $2,880,620 (2,205,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $478,499; 2nd Place - $318,999; 3rd Place - $179,724
2012 Finish
Bernd Wiesberger270Anthony Wall278
Richie Ramsay275Five players at279
Marcus Fraser277
Victor Dubuisson277
Miguel Angel Jimenez278
Past Ballantine's Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Bernd Wiesberger (270) -- Richie Ramsay
2011Lee Westwood (276) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez
2010#Marcus Fraser (204) -- Brett Rumford, Gareth Maybin
2009*Thongchai Jaidee (284) -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Sung-Hoon Kang
2008*Graeme McDowell (264) -- Jeev Milkha Singh

* - Won in Playoff

# - Weather-shortened

Top Contenders in the Field
Bernd Wiesberger------------Won
Richie Ramsay---------T-132nd
Marcus Fraser---T-34WonT-27T-3
Alexander Noren------T-60T-5T-7
Felipe AguilarT-50T-31T-16T-35T-7
Y.E. YangT-43---mcmcT-15
Brett Rumford---T-15T-2T-7T-20
Sang-moon Bae------------T-20
Thongchai Jaidee---WonT-9T-41T-25
Paul Casey------------T-25
Mikko IlonenT-24T-19T-9mcT-32
Gareth Maybin---T-27T-2T-13T-38
K.T. KimT-62mcT-16T-10T-54
Thomas BjornT-5---mc------
Raphael Jacquelinwd------------
Paul Lawrie---------------
Louis Oosthuizen---------------
Peter Uihlein---------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Mikko Ilonen
Darkhorse - Peter Uihlein
Last Week's Pick to Win (Sergio Garcia) - Finished tied for 12th
Last Week's Darkhorse (David Horsey) - Finished tied for 4th
NOTES:The European Tour travels to Seoul, South Korea, this week for the
Ballantine's Championship at Blackstone Golf Club. The field is highlighted by South African Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7 in the world. Americans Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to the "perceived unrest on the Korean Peninsula."

Oosthuizen won the Volvo Golf Champions on the European Tour in January. He has captured at least one European Tour event the last four seasons, highlighted by his victory at the 2010 British Open.

The Korean contingent is led by Sang-moon Bae, K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang. Bae finished tied for eighth at the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour in February. Kim played on the 2011 International Presidents Cup team. Yang became the first Korean to capture a major title when he won the 2009 PGA Championship.

This tournament is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Korean PGA Tour. The 2008 event was the first time that the European Tour played in South Korea. Korea became the 38th different nation to host a European Tour event and the 10th Asian country. Blackstone Golf Club was designed by JMP Design and opened for play in 2010. It was named the best new course in South Korea for 2010-11.

Last year, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger posted rounds of 72-65-65-68 and cruised to his maiden European Tour victory. Wiesberger, who led after the second and third rounds, finished at 18-under 270 and won by a whopping five strokes over Richie Ramsay. Wiesberger became the third Austrian to win on the European Tour, joining Markus Brier and Martin Wiegele.

In 2011, Lee Westwood erased a 3-stroke deficit in the final round to come from behind and win. Westwood closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 12-under- par 276 for his 21st European Tour victory.

Thongchai Jaidee birdied the first playoff hole in 2009 to defeat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Sung-Hoon Kang for his fourth European Tour title and second of 2009. Jaidee won despite carding a 5-over 77 in the third round. He opened the tournament with a 66 and finished at 4-under-par 284 with Fernandez-Castano and Kang.

Graeme McDowell birdied the third playoff hole in 2008 to beat Jeev Milkha Singh. The players finished regulation tied at 24-under 264. It was McDowell's third European Tour victory, and first since 2004.

The first two years of the tournament (2008-09) ended in playoffs. It was the first time in European Tour history that a tournament was decided by a playoff in its first two years.

The European Tour moves to China next week for the Volvo China Open, where Branden Grace captured the 2012 title.

04/23 15:03:17 ET

As of April 23, 2013, at 03:03 PM ET