Melaka, Malaysia, June 29: Young Korean Joohyung Kim birdied three of his closing four holes to post a six-under-par 66 and secure his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) win in the final round of the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka on Saturday.
The 17-year-old Korean held his nerve to convert his multiple close calls this season into a stunning six-shot victory with his four-day total of 23-under-par 265 at the RM 225,000 (US$54,000) event staged at the Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Naoki Sekito put up a strong final-day charge to card a flawless 66 which included an eagle on hole 16 to take a share of second place with Malaysia’s Sukree Othman (68). Sekito moved up to take over the top spot on the ADT Order of Merit following his strong finish.
Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin produced the shot of the day when he scored his first professional ace on hole four with his nine-iron from 176 yards. He went on to sign for an eventual 73 to end his campaign in tied-32nd.
“It feels so great to finally win, like I said I’ve come so close so many times and to be able to finish it off despite all the pressure I felt today is fantastic,” said Kim, who took home a winner’s purse of US$9,529.28 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the other top six players and ties earned points based on a sliding scale.
Kim returned this morning to finish three holes for a third-round 67 and brought a four-shot lead into the final round. He traded seven birdies against one bogey to become the second Korean to ever win on the ADT following countryman Seung Park.
“I came into the final round with and then started off with a bogey. I just told myself to stay patient and to just do the best that I can. Coming to end of the round I just knew I was in control and the pressure slowly went away,” added Kim, who is also a two-time winner on the Philippine Golf Tour.
Prior to this week, Kim was knocking hard on the door to his first ADT victory with three top-five finishes this year highlighted by a joint runner-up result in Thailand last month.
Displaying the maturity of an experienced Tour golfer despite only joining the play-for-pay ranks last year, the young Kim was glad to finally get the job done.
“I was in the eighth spot on the Order of Merit before this week. I’m glad to finally move into the top-seven and hopefully I can win a couple more events this year to stay up there,” added the Korean, who moved up to take the third spot on the Merit list.
Leading final round scores :
265 – Joohyung Kim 69 63 67 66
271 – Naoki Sekito 70 65 70 66, Sukree Othman 70 66 67 68
273 – Panuwat Muenlek 71 68 69 65, Chinnarat Phadungsil 70 68 66 69
275 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin 70 67 71 67, Ben Leong 68 69 70 68