Second-year tour debutant Kim Chan-woo (24.I.K Birdie Plus) won his first title in 34 years at the 36-hole Korea Men’s Professional Golf (KPGA) Bizplay Electronics Open (total prize money: 525 million won), which was postponed due to inclement weather. His joy was multiplied by the fact that he was caddied by his older sister.
Kim shot an 8-under 64 in the final two rounds of the tournament at Cosmos Links (Par 72, 7407 yards) in Yeongam-gun, Jeollanam-do on Sunday to win with a final total of 12-under 132.
He opened with a 4-under 68 in the first round. In the second round, he birdied the back nine on Nos. 1-3 and Nos. 5-6 to win the tournament by one stroke over Jeon Ga-ram (28), Lee Sung-ho (36), and Jeong Ji-yoon (28).
The Open, the KPGA’s 16th event of the season, had its share of challenges as the course was flooded several times due to heavy rains in the southern part of the country. Heavy rain after the first round on the 14th led to the cancellation of the 15th, and when the situation did not improve on the 16th, the tournament organizers, associations, and players’ associations decided to shorten the tournament to 36 holes.
This is the first time the KPGA Korean Tour has played a 36-hole tournament since the Busan Open in August 1983 and the Pokaris Wet Open in June 1989. The total prize pool was reduced to 525 million won, with only 75% of the prize money going to the winner. The Genesis Points awarded to the winner was 100% (1000P).
After winning, Kim Chan-woo said, “I’m really happy. I can’t stop talking about last year because it was my first win. Last year, I tied for third place by one stroke at the 4th Woosung General Construction Open. I was very disappointed, so I think it helped that I came to this tournament with the determination, ‘Let’s do well this time,’ because it’s the same Youngam and I have good memories.” 토토사이트
The good memories of Yeongam led to confident shots. “First of all, my first goal was to avoid the bunkers, because I think that on this course, if you don’t go into the bunkers, you won’t have much trouble hitting your second shot. I think my confidence was boosted by hitting my driver tee shots confidently on a golf course with a clear view and no out-of-bounds (OB) compared to other golf courses.”
Kim had been a virtual unknown this year, without a single top-10 finish. He finished tied for third at the 4th Woosung General Construction Open and tied for ninth at the DGB Financial Group Open in 16 tournaments last year, but most of his finishes were in the lower half of the standings, leaving him 80th in Genesis Points.
Fortunately, a tie for 30th place at the Korean Tour Qualifying Tournament (QT) secured his seeding and gave him his first victory in 33 tournaments on the Korean Tour. He is the eighth first-time Tour winner this season and the ninth in his 20s.
“When I first joined the tour last year, my goal was not to win, but to maintain my seeding,” said Kim. Despite two top-10 finishes, I was unable to maintain my seeding due to a poor start to the season. This year, when I went through QT again and secured my seed, it helped me to reset my mind and prepare thoroughly. I think I was up and down all season. I think I was inconsistent because I kept making changes to my swing instead of being consistent.”
It’s a shame that my first win was in 36 holes. However, with this victory, he is determined to win the 72-hole title. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my shots since I won my first title,” said Kim. It’s still a long season, so if I play confidently, I think good results will follow. I’m strong with my driver and iron shots, but my putts are very weak. I’ve been working on my putts for a few months now and a few weeks ago. If I continue to work on my putting, I think I will be much closer to winning my second title.”
The presence of his caddie and sister, who celebrated with him after his victory, became a hot topic. “My sister doesn’t have a job related to golf,” Kim said. At the Honors K-Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational last year, she had stopped working for a while, so I asked her to play with me, and since then, her grades have gotten better and better, so we’ve been playing together ever since.”
Citing his strengths as his tee and second shots, Kim aimed to add one more win to his tally for the rest of the season. “My tee and second shot direction is much better now. I don’t feel like I’m going to make a mistake when I see the address, so I play more confidently. Recently, I’ve been trying to simplify the game a little bit. Once I got rid of all the complications and simplified my game, my scores improved a lot from that point on,” he said confidently.
“Before this season started, I didn’t think about winning the title as a goal. Last year I didn’t manage to keep my seeding, so this year I wanted to play well at the beginning of the year to secure my seeding and then my secondary goal was to win. Now that we’ve won our first title, we’re going to try to get another one for the rest of the season,” he said.