The Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) Tour’s longest hitter, Chung Chan-min, won the KPGA Korean Tour Golf Zone-Doray Open (total prize money of 700 million won) in a playoff on the final day at Seonsan Country Club (Par 72) in Golf Zone County, Gumi-si, North Gyeongsang Province, on Friday.
Chung, who shot a seven-under 65 on the day, was six strokes behind Kang, who finished with a final four-round total of 21-under 267, forcing a playoff.
In the first overtime at the 18th hole (par-5), Chung had to get his ball on the green in three after his tee shot left the fairway, but he was saved by Kang’s birdie putt, which he missed by just over two metres.
In the second extra session, Chung took advantage of his long-hitting advantage.
After hitting his tee shot accurately, Chung hit an iron to the green with 201 metres to go for an easy birdie.
Kang, who hit his second shot with 224 metres to go, found the green in three through a bunker and failed to make birdie.
It was the second win in six months for Chung, who won his first career title at the GS Caltex Mae Kyung Open in May.
He is only the second player on the KPGA Korean Tour to win at least two events this season, following three victories.
The victory marks a spectacular return to form for Chung, who won the GS Caltex Mae Kyung Open in May and tied for seventh at the Woori Financial Championship after a shoulder injury prevented him from finishing in the top 10 in 13 tournaments.
The winner’s cheque was worth 140 million won.
The Gumi Osang High School graduate from Gumi, Gyeongbuk, was delighted to win on a course he often played as a junior.
“I want to win the final event of the season as well,” he said, “and I plan to compete in the LIV Golf Selection in December.”
“This winter, I will continue to rehabilitate and train to regain the distance I lost and add sophistication to my game,” said Chung, whose distance was reduced by 20 metres due to inflammation of the rotator cuff in her left shoulder.
Heading into the final round in a tie for fifth place, three shots behind Kim, Chung carded an eagle and six birdies on the back nine to move into contention for the title.
Along the way, it was her short game that stood out as much as her long game.
He eagled the sixth (par-5) with his second shot, dropping his ball three metres to the side of the hole, before making a stunning birdie at the eighth (par-3) when his lob shot from 20 metres outside the green found the hole.
At the 11th (par-4), he hit a long tee shot that travelled 328 yards before holing a wedge from 35 metres.
He was the first to reach 20 under par with four consecutive birdies from the eighth and was one shot behind Kang, who holed a shot eagle at the 12th (par-4), but birdied the 18th (par-5) to move into a share of the lead.
After hitting a 15-metre chip shot to within a metre of the hole on the 18th, Chung drained a 1.5-metre par putt in the first overtime.
“I probably would have missed the cut if it wasn’t for my short game and putt,” said Chung.
Chung’s chance came when Kang failed to hold his third shot on the 18th (par-5) and missed a 5-metre birdie putt.
Kang, who was looking for his 12th career victory in two years and two months after winning the 2021 Bizplay Electronics Newspaper Open, had to settle for runner-up honours after failing to make a single birdie in three 18-hole playoffs, including the fourth round and two extra holes.
It was Kang’s second runner-up finish of the year after the Kolon Korea Open in June.
Third-round leader Kim Han-byul could only manage a two-stroke improvement to finish tied for third at 19-under 269.
Defending champion Park Eun-shin kept her dignity by finishing tied for fifth (17-under-par 271) after a three-under-par 69. 먹튀검증