Ham Jeong-woo (pictured) has taken a step forward in the race for the 2023 Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour Order of Merit, joining the likes of Lee Jung-hwan and Park Sang-hyun.
In the first round of the season-ending LG Signature Players Championship ($1.3 billion in prize money) at Seowon Valley CC (par-71, 7000 yards) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday, Ham shot four birdies and two bogeys for a total of 2-under-par through the 15th hole (par-4) before heavy rain interrupted play to finish in a tie for 10th place.
Ham, the Genesis points leader, can claim the grand prize of a top-three finish in the tournament, which includes a European Tour seeding and other opportunities overseas, a bonus of 100 million won, a luxury car and other perks. While second-place Lee Jung-hwan and third-place Park Sang-hyun are still within striking distance if they win, Ham is the only player who can control his own destiny and is the closest he’s ever been to winning his first grand prize.
With the importance of finishing ahead of his competitors, Ham was lighter than his rivals in his group on the day. After holing a 5-foot uphill putt on the first (par-4), he added a tap-in birdie on the third (par-5) by hitting his third shot into the hole. When he hit his second shot to within two meters of the hole at the fourth (par-4) for birdie, he looked to be on track to cut the deficit to more than five strokes.
However, his driver and iron shots faltered after that, leaving him off the fairway on several occasions. After back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th (par-4s), he bounced back with a birdie on the 15th when the rain began to fall heavily and he dropped his second shot to the side of the hole.
The rain then turned into a torrential downpour that soaked the greens, prompting tournament officials to suspend play at 3:51 p.m. After 30 minutes, the rain stopped and the course was repaired, but the organizers decided at 4:47 p.m. to postpone the rest of the day’s play to the next day due to sunset (5:27 p.m.).
Lee shot even par with three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey to finish in a tie for 25th place, while Park Sang-hyun lost one stroke with two birdies and three bogeys and will play the remaining three holes and the second round the following day. Of the top 61 players in terms of Genesis Points and money, 19 did not finish the first round.
2018 Korean Open winner Choi Min-cheol carded six birdies without a bogey to finish at 6-under 65 and share the lead, followed by Chung Mil 메이저토토사이트 Chung (5-under 66), Kim Woo-hyun and Shin Sang-hoon (4-under 67). “It’s my home course, so I felt comfortable knowing where to putt,” said Choi. I’ve been practicing at Seowon Valley for 10 years and it would be special to win here,” said Choi.