Maiden win for Kim Seung-hyuk at SK Telecom Open
INCHEON, Korea, May 18 – Journeyman Kim Seung-hyuk birdied the last for a two-under-par 70 on Sunday to win OneAsia’s SK Telecom Open by a shot from Lee Tae-hee (69) and Kim Kyung-tae (71) at Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon, west of Seoul.
The 28-year-old Korean finished 11 under par around the 6,622-metre (7,241-yard) Ocean Course to claim his first professional title in a career that started in 2005.
Australian David Bransdon (69) also challenged down the stretch but had to settle for fourth place at nine under, while star attraction K.J. Choi (68) was a shot further behind.
Kim banked $195,000 from the one billion won (around U.S. $1 million) purse and moves to the top of the Order of Merit. He is the third player to claim a career-first victory on OneAsia this season following Alexander Levy at the Volvo China Open in April and Park Jun-won at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open last week.
The lead changed hands several times in a gripping final round — at one point the top four were all tied at 10 under — on a day where there were birdies aplenty, but also bogeys lurking around every corner.
Sharing the overnight lead with multiple-winner Kim Kyung-tae, Kim Seung-hyuk looked to have blown his chance with a double-bogey at the fourth, but birdies at five and seven got him back in the mix.
“I didn’t panic after the double,” he said. “There was still a lot of holes to come, so I just tried to focus on my game.”
He got nervous at the 11th, however, when a glance at the leaderboard after another birdie showed the leaderboard log jam.
“Now we were starting to run out of holes, but I told myself again that I just needed to worry about myself, not anyone else.”
Kim Kyung-tae fell away after dropping shots on 11 and 12, but back-to-back birdies on the next two — as well as a birdie and bogey on 16 and 17 — kept him in the hunt.
The Kims walked onto the 18th both needing a birdie for victory; Kyung-tae’s 20 footer slid agonisingly by, but Seung-hyuk’s nine-footer, seemingly running out of steam, found the cup.
“It was a fantastic feeling when it went in,” he said, ”now I know I can win a golf tournament, so I can set my sights on winning more.”
Indonesia’s Rory Hie has enjoyed some impressive performances on the OneAsia tour over the last few years, most notably a Top 5 finish in last year’s Nanshan China Masters. Unfortunately Hie was battling with a shin splint in his left calf over the weekend and struggled home posting a final round 77.
The OneAsia takes a break until the 14th of August, where we can look forward to the inaugural Fiji International, played at: Natadola Beach Championship Golf Course, with US$ 1 million total prize money available for contestants.
Like what your reading
Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest from Golfindonesia