Asian Tour

Asian Tour: Kim edges Cho to claim Korea Open in dramatic playoff to book spot at Open Championship

By Matt Smith
Rising Korean star Minkyu Kim finally overcame compatriot Mingyu Cho in a three-hole playoff at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club to claim the Asian Tour Korea Open.

The 21-year-old Kim holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th for victory in the play-off, which was played over holes 16, 17 and 18, on even par, while Cho made bogey to end one-over. It was a tremendous turnaround as Kim started with a par and a bogey verses the two pars his opponent had made to put him in control.

It is the first time that Kim ­— who won the 2018 Real Czech Challenge on the Challenge Tour, becoming its youngest-ever winner at 17 years, 64 days — has won in his homeland and his success was rewarded with an invite to The Open at St Andrews in July. Cho’s consolation prize is also a place in the elite field for the game’s oldest major.

Kim began the day three behind the overnight leaders Cho and another Korean Taehoon Ok but steadily worked his way through the field with a two-under 69 to set the clubhouse lead on four under, which included a bogey on the last.

Korean Hyungjoon Lee, playing in the penultimate group, look set to surpass that total and most likely win the tournament when he was five-under playing 18 but added to the drama of the day when he finished with a double-bogey after going out of bounds.

Thirty-three-year-old Cho then had a chance to win the 64th staging of Korea’s national Open in normal time with a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 but his attempt narrowly missed, and he signed for a 72 to send the event in over time.

“I can’t believe I have actually won,” said Kim, who has posted seven top-10s in his last 10 starts.

“I have come close to winning before and I wondered if I would ever win. I felt good on the back nine and started to feel I had a chance.

“Straight after I won, I thought of my father; I have to thank him for this. My golf is just beginning.”

On the final play-off hole, Cho hit an errant drive which forced him to punch his ball back into play while Kim assumed control after hitting his second over three green. Cho’s third found the edge of the green from where he played a poor chip to 25 feet. He proceeded to miss that while Kim got up and down for the most important birdie of his career.

“Winning is a difficult task. I think it was a good day, and I will move on,” said Cho. I am now planning to go and play in Europe for the first time, where, I am sure, I’ll learn a lot.”

American Jarin Todd closed with a 70 to tie for third with Lee, who returned a 71, one shot short of the play-off.

You may also like:
WATCH: Highlights of the Ladies European Tour Czech Open
WATCH: Highlights from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
In Gee holds on to win KPMG
Dubai’s Chiara Noja continues to dominate on LET Access Series
Abu Dhabi-based 12-year-old wins in Scotland
All the latest news from around the UAE and beyond
WATCH: The monster putt that won on DP World Tour
DP World suspends LIV Golf players

UAE champions to the fore at BMW International Open
Travelers Day 3 takeaways
Li stays in control at BMW
Take a look at how Rory outdrove playing partners
LIV Golf: Top stars set for Portland
Rory calls LIV players’duplicitous’
JT shuts down LIV rumour mill
LIV players permitted to play in Open
PGA plans tour series to rival  LIV
LIV Golf announces latest major signing
Brooks Koepka set to make his move to LIV
Report: Ancer is the latest LIV Golf recruit
18 parting thoughts from the US Open
Can you guess the top 10 US Open earners?


Facebook Comments

Check Also

LOOK: Big names who missed out in the FedEx Cup Playoffs standings — and lost their PGA Tour cards

LOOK: Big names who missed out in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup points list standings