“Although I won the 36-hole championship this time, I will prove my worth by winning another title sooner rather than later.”
These were the words of Kim Chan-woo, 23, who shot an 8-under 64 in the final two rounds of the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s Bizplay Electronics Newspaper Open at Cosmos Links (Par 72) in Yeongam-gun, Jeollanam-do on Sunday to win his first career title with a two-round total of 12-under 132.
“Honestly, when I started this season, my priority was to maintain my seeding,” said Kim, who made his debut last year and had only two top-10 finishes before winning this event.
It was a natural goal for Kim, who had two top-10 finishes in his rookie season last year – a tie for third and a tie for ninth – but was unable to accumulate enough money and points to protect his seeding and had to play another qualifying tournament.
He didn’t have a great start to the season this year either. By June, he had missed the cut four times and had accumulated just over $10 million in prize money.
However, his results started to pick up in the summer.
He finished tied for 18th, tied for 24th, and tied for 13th in three tournaments from July through last month, earning enough Genesis Points to keep his seeding in the top 60.
The KPGA Korean Tour offers seeding for the following year to players who finish in the top 70 in two categories: Genesis Points and money.
Kim said, “My shot balance has improved since the summer. Both my tee shots and iron shots have improved,” he said. “Before, I was unsure of my swing, so I would go back and forth between this swing and that swing, but as my swing and thoughts became simpler, my results started to come.”
Kim credits his victory to a combination of his confidence in his swing and the confidence he gained on the landfill course.
Kim missed last year’s Woosung Open by one stroke. His tie for third place was his best finish since his debut.
South Links Yeongam Kyle Phillipskos in Yeongam-gun, Jeollanam-do, where the Woosung General Construction Open was held, is adjacent to Cosmos Links, where the Bizplay Electronics Newspaper Open was held.
The course was built on the same reclaimed land.
“It’s a place where you have a clear view and there are no OBs, so I think it was the momentum of being able to swing without fear, including driver shots, that won me the title,” said Kim. “I had good memories of playing well at Yeongam last year, so I was more motivated this time around.”
The Cosmos Rings, which was completed just before the tournament, is characterized by 365 bunkers shaped like craters.
“I was scared at first because I didn’t have a practice round,” Kim said, “but I kept telling myself not to go into the bunkers.”
Kim said he only lost a ball in a bunker once in 36 holes. “It was urgent to get out,” he said. I made a bogey on the hole where I fell into the bunker.”
Gaining confidence, Kim carded eight birdies and no bogeys in the final two rounds for an 8-under-par 64, matching his lowest 18-hole score in the second round of last year’s Woosung General Construction Open.
After finishing the day, Kim had to wait a while for the rest of the field to finish.
There weren’t many players chasing him, but he laughed, saying, “I just laid down and waited, because you never know in golf.”
Even though Korea’s Jung Yoon Chung (USA), who was trailing by one stroke, failed to make a birdie on the final hole to effectively clinch the title, Kim Chan-woo said, “It wasn’t over yet,” adding that he was only convinced of victory after Lee Soo-min, who was trailing by two strokes, hit his second shot on the final 18th (par-5).
“I didn’t know if I was dreaming or in real life,” he said, adding, “I’m very happy.”
Although he was crowned champion after only 36 holes due to bad weather, Kim said, “I think I was able to win because I improved a lot in terms of shots and mentality,” and vowed to win another title as soon as possible.
“I’ve been practicing my putting for months because I think I’m still not good enough,” said Kim, who vowed to spend more time practicing in the future. 파워볼