Park proves unbeatable with 37th GS Caltex Maekyung Open crown

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Korea’s Sanghyun Park renewed his love affair with the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship by winning the long-standing event again with a par at the third play-off hole on Sunday.

Park, who won the event in 2016, had to go the extra distance to lift his sixth professional title after he carded an even-par-71 in the final round to force his way into a play-off with compatriots Yikeun Chang, Junggon Hwang and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Bhullar threatened to break the dominance of the Koreans at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship which has not welcomed a foreign winner since American Mark Calcavecchia emerged victorious in 2004.

The Indian, who had earlier compiled a four-day total of one-under-par 283, was however the first player to bow out from the four-man play-off at the first hole.

He conceded the hole after he knew his best effort could only be a bogey while the Koreans had easy par putt chances. Hwang was next to fall out of contention after he carded a bogey while Park and Chang birdied.

Victory soon belonged to Park when Chang was left with an uphill task to sink a 15-foor par putt which he missed while Park made no mistake of his from inside 10 feet at the Namseoul Country Club.

Did you know?

·       Sanghyun Park became the fourth Korean player after K.T. Kim, Sangho Choi and Namshin Park to have won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship twice.

·       When Park won the event in 2016, it was also in a play-off against compatriot Soomin Lee.

·       Yikeun topped the class at the 2016 Asian Tour Qualifying School which was his very first attempt since turning professional

·       He enjoyed a commendable 2017, regained his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School, made his Major debut at The Open and missed only two cuts in 11 starts on the region’s premier Tour.

·       Gaganjeet Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30. He is also the youngest player to achieve the feat on the Asian Tour.

·       He has won once in Korea at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2016.

·       Bhullar holds the same number of Asian Tour wins with countrymen Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa. They are the only three Indian players with the most number of wins on the Asian Tour.

·       John Catlin has won two Asian Development Tour (ADT) titles but is still searching for his maiden Asian Tour win.

Players’ Quotes

Sanghyun Park (Kor) Fourth round 71 (Even), Total 283 (-1)

I’m so pleased with my victory today. It was a hard fought one especially against so many good players. I was feeling confident ahead of the play-off as I was in a similar situation before in 2016 when I won. I thought I could have won it in the first play-off hole when I had a makeable birdie putt but it took me another two more holes to get the job done.

Yikuen Chang (Kor) Fourth round 69 (-2), Total 283 (-1)

I’m really disappointed I missed a couple of important putts today but I believe I’ll bounce back. Second place is not too bad and still I could have won the tournament if I had not make too many mistakes. But I’ll learn from it and improve. The fans are so awesome. It was raining so heavily today and they still turned up to watch us play.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) Fourth round 70 (-1), Total 283 (-1)

I gave my 100% and I played really well especially the last 36 holes. I played really steady and gave myself opportunities today. I hit the ball really well and gave myself lots of good looks out on the course. But I would like to congratulate Park as he’s a deserving winner.

John Catlin (Usa) Fourth round 70 (-1) Total 285 (+1)

It has been an awesome week in Korea. The greens here are absolutely perfect. I’ve been working really hard over the last couple of years and I was really determined to get into the co-sanctioned events and I managed to get a last-minute entry here through my category on the Asian Tour. To be able to come out and perform which I know I can with all the work I put in just gives me lots of confidence moving forward. I’m excited to see what this year has in store for me. There’s a big gap between the level of play on the ADT and Asian Tour. The depth of the field here is really impressive. You got a lot of really players teeing up who all have a chance to win every week. I like that challenge and I’m going to use that to step up and work on my game even more.

 Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) Fourth round 74 (+3) Total 287 (+3)

I did not win but it’s okay. I’m still pleased with my performance as the conditions were really tough and I showed that I could still compete and be in contention. I’m not too concerned about that important Asian Tour breakthrough yet as I know my time will come if I continue to stay patient and focused.

Leading Scores after round 4 of the The 37th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship being played at the par 71, 6451 Yards Nam Seoul CC course (am – denotes amateur):

283 – Sanghyun PARK (KOR) 71-70-71-71, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 73-72-69-69, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 72-70-71-70, Junggon HWANG (KOR) 71-73-69-70.

*Park won with a birdie on the third play-off hole

284 – Dongmin KIM (am, KOR) 72-69-72-71, Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 67-71-74-72, Sanghee LEE (KOR) 73-71-68-72.

285 – John CATLIN (USA) 72-72-71-70.

286 – Dongseop MAENG (KOR) 70-71-75-70, Seungbo JANG (am, KOR) 71-72-71-72, Dongha LEE 562 (KOR) 68-68-75-75.

287 – Hyunwoo RYU (KOR) 70-74-73-70, J.B. PARK (KOR) 68-74-74-71, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 69-70-74-74, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 71-72-70-74.

288 – K.T. KIM (KOR) 72-70-74-72, Soonsang HONG (KOR) 74-71-71-72, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 71-72-72-73, Heungchol JOO (KOR) 68-70-75-75.

289 – Jinho CHOI (KOR) 71-75-73-70, Seungtaek LEE (KOR) 73-70-75-71, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 76-71-70-72, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 73-71-72-73, Minchel CHOI (KOR) 74-70-72-73, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 73-71-71-74.

290 – Younghan SONG (KOR) 70-73-76-71, Changwon HAN (KOR) 74-73-72-71, Junsung KIM (KOR) 71-73-77-69.

291 – Y. E. YANG (KOR) 71-76-73-71, Sunghyun OH (am, KOR) 71-71-76-73, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 72-73-73-73, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 69-72-74-76.

For full results, download here

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