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Golf: Kim Kyung-tae ends three-year wait at Singha Thailand Open


Kim Kyung-tae won the Singha Thailand Open for his first title in three years. Photos: OneAsia.

June 14, 2015: Korean Kim Kyung-tae ended a frustrating three-year wait for victory by claiming the Singha Corporation Thailand Open after a thrilling head-to-head battle with young compatriot Wang Jeung-hun.


Kim, nicknamed ‘KT’, shot a seven-under-par 65 on the Plantation Course at Siam Country Club to beat Wang by three shots and finish with an impressive winning total of 21-under.


Wang, 19, fired a 67 in the US$1 million event jointly sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.


Australian Joshua Younger, the third-round leader, returned a 73 to finish third on 14-under. Jazz Janewattananond (72) finished as the leading Thai by sharing fourth with Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato (68).


“Today I had luck with me that made me a champion,” said Kim, a former winner of the money lists in both Korea and Japan.


Kim, 28, said that three years ago he tried to adapt his game to play on the PGA Tour in the United States, but the swing change backfired and he has only recently started finding his old form.


“The last three years I did not do well because I wanted to go to America and I thought if I had 20 more yards (in length) I would have a chance to win over there,” Kim said. “I changed my swing and my rhythm and it changed my results. From there, I tried changing back to my usual swing, but it took quite a while.


“This year I asked my coach to help me and he reminded me of the swing I had last time. Now I have a good mental image of my swing, so that’s why I am doing well.”


After turning pro in 2006, Kim won his first professional title the following year and hit the headlines in 2010 when he became the first Korean to win the JGTO Money List. He claimed three titles in Japan that season and has won another two since then, most recently at the 2012 Fujisankei Classic.


In 2011, he reached number 18 on the Official World Golf Ranking and had two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. He also triumphed on OneAsia that year in the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in Korea.


After a barren spell, he has three top-20 finishes in Japan this year and recently finished joint third in the SK Telecom Open in Korea.


Wang Jeung-hun, 19, was level with Kim with two holes to play, but finished three shots back.

Wang Jeung-hun, 19, was level with Kim with two holes to play, but finished three shots back.

Wang, 19, was one stroke ahead of Kim at the turn after he went out in six-under-par 30, while his playing partner’s four-under front nine was nearly as impressive. It was a two-horse race all the way and they were tied with just two holes to play, when Kim showed his class and experience by making back-to-back birdies while Wang finished with a par and a bogey.


However, there was drama on the par-four 18th as they both hit strong approach shots to the green. Kim, with one shot ahead, was 12 feet from the pin and Wang, with a chance to force a playoff, was just seven feet away. Kim made sure there was no overtime by nailing his birdie putt while Wang surprisingly three putted.


“I played really good today,” said Wang, who cruised to a 10-shot win in last year’s Mission Hills Haikou Open on the PGA Tour China. “I do not have any regrets. I had a little pressure the whole day, but not that much.


“I would say this has been the highlight of my golf career so far – I will be back to try and win the Thailand Open. I have no regrets. I tried my best and did my best.”


Source: OneAsia (; Editing by SportAsia

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