South Korea’s Kim Dong-min, 25, won his first career title on the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour in just his 66th event.
Kim shot a 5-under 67 in the final round of the KPGA안전놀이터 Korean Tour’s KB Financial Reeve Championship (total prize money: 700 million won) at Blackstone Golf Club (Par 72) in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday to finish with a four-round total of 8-under 280.
First win since debuting on the KPGA Korean Tour in 2020.
A bronze medalist in the men’s golf team event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, he has had a difficult time on the professional stage. In three years, he made the cut in only 19 of 47 tournaments. Last year, he missed the cut in the first nine of 21 events.
He wasn’t even seeded, but that changed in the second half of the season when he shed his OB burden. He finished in the top 10 in three of the last four events of the second half of the year, including a runner-up finish, to retain his seeding at No. 57 in Genesis Points. This was his first win of the season after a fourth-place finish at the DB Insurance Promi Open and a runner-up finish at the Golf Zone Open.
Kim celebrates his victory
Kim celebrates his victory.
Kim joined a long line of upset winners in the tournament’s tradition with a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Tied for 10th place, five shots off the lead after three rounds, Kim made four birdies on the back nine to move into contention.
A three-putt bogey on the 17th (par-4) seemed to put him out of contention, but an eagle on the 18th (par-5) completed a thrilling comeback.
With 236 yards to go, he attacked the green with a wood and dropped his ball five meters short of the hole, and his hard-hit eagle putt dropped straight into the cup. It was an instant win. Kim finished first and sealed the victory when Shin Sang-hoon, who was trailing by one stroke, made a double bogey on the par-4 17th hole.
Kim Dong-min with his trophy
“I never dreamed of winning until I finished the third round,” said Kim. “I knew I was tied for the lead on the 17th (par-4). I decided to go for eagle on 18 and chose a 3-wood, which landed close to the pin and I was able to make eagle. My last putt was for eagle,” he recalled.
“My lack of accuracy off the tee has prevented me from winning in the past,” he said, adding, “I felt more confident with my driver. I had a lot of OBs that went right. I was trying to hit it too straight. I practiced a lot of driver shots by myself to work on my fade, and my tee shots were much better than in the first half of last year, so I was more confident.”
“This year, I want to add one more win to top the Genesis Points and win the Genesis Grand Prize, and I want to participate in the final stage of the Q-School on the Confederation Tour,” said Kim Dong-min.