Bio Kim overcame an unexpected scare on the first hole – when a scoring official collapsed on the tee near to him – to take the third-round lead in the GS Caltex Maekyung Open today at Namseoul Country Club.
The Korean star fired a three-under-par 68 to lead on 10 under, by four from his countrymen Minjun Kim and Mingyu Cho, also in with 68s, and Jiho Yang, who shot 71 – in the Asian Tour’s first event back in Korea since 2019.
Kim started the day in a share of the lead but suffered a major distraction on the first when 20-year-old university student Woojun Lee, who was handling one of the scoreboards, collapsed just before he was due to tee off.
A doctor in the large crowd, who had gathered to watch the final group, as well as Kim rushed to help him before an ambulance was called. Lee, who suffers from Anemia, eventually made a full recovery at hospital.
The whole incident lasted about 10 minutes and when Kim finally got going, he made a double on the first.
“To be honest, I wasn’t too distracted on the first. We all thought we had better wait to help him before getting going. I missed the tee shot, it was a tough pin position and I three putted – maybe I was just nervous,” said Kim.
“I eventually got my flow going and having such big crowds was huge motivation. I have a lot of memories here but I’m not thinking about things too much, just keep a very clear mind.”
He is bidding to claim his first title on the Asian Tour on the back of an inspired run of form which has seen him post seven top-10 finishes in nine events, highlighted by a tied second finish at the Laguna Phuket Championship at the end of 2021.
He has actually won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open before, back in 2012, but it was not part of the Asian Tour then.
Kim grew up playing amateur golf at Namseoul and made his debut on the Asian Tour when tied fourth in the 2007 GS Caltex Maekyung Open before claiming equal third the following year, remarkably on both occasions he was still an amateur.
And as a member of the professional ranks, he has also posted five other top-five finishes in addition to his victory a decade ago.
He needed to draw on all his experience today to get ahead; he fired seven birdies, two bogies and one double.
His impressive round was built upon six birdies in the space of eight holes from the seventh.
The tournament has also so far seen strong performances by players from South Asia with India’s Khalin Joshi and Viraj Madappa five off the lead in joint fifth, following rounds of 69 and 72 respectively.
And Indian Honey Baisoya carded a 66, the joint-lowest round of the day, to sit in outright seventh, another shot back.
“Game is feeling good, so looking forward to tomorrow,” said Joshi.
“I haven’t played in front of gallery like this in a while, so I’m really excited. Today was good fun playing with two local boys, and the support we had was pretty good.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen crowds. And for me personally, I haven’t been in contention in a while, so it’s good. It’s getting me charged for sure, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Said Madappa: “It was a little erratic today, I feel like the wind was swirling a little bit. I started off really well. The front nine I played good honestly, tee to green was really solid and I made a few putts. I put myself in good places on the front nine and on the back nine… Just when the wind started swirling I made a few bad decisions off the tee. Misjudged some of the wind and put myself in tough spots.”
Both Joshi and Madappa are in search of their second wins on the Asian Tour.
Reigning Asian Tour number one Joohyung Kim from Korea fired a 72 and is in a group of five players seven off the pace, along with Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan who carded a 66.
Scores after round three of the The 41st GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship being played at the par 71, 7047 Yards, Namseoul Country Club course (am – denotes amateur):
203 – Bio Kim (KOR) 67-68-68.
207 – Minjun Kim (KOR) 69-70-68, Mingyu Cho (KOR) 69-70-68, Jiho Yang (KOR) 69-67-71.
208 – Khalin Joshi (IND) 68-71-69, Viraj Madappa (IND) 71-65-72.
209 – Honey Baisoya (IND) 72-71-66.
210 – Settee Prakongvech (THA) 72-70-68, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 72-72-66, Junsub Park (KOR) 71-67-72, Joohyung Kim (KOR) 70-68-72, Minhyuk Song (am, KOR) 69-66-75.
211 – Taehoon Ok (KOR) 69-73-69, Hosung Choi (KOR) 72-71-68, Junggon Hwang (KOR) 67-74-70, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 74-68-69, Richard T. Lee (CAN) 68-75-68, Natipong Srithong (THA) 68-73-70, Kyongjun Moon (KOR) 69-71-71, Jeonghyeob Hyun (KOR) 71-69-71, Jeongwoo Ham (KOR) 69-71-71, Sanghyun Park (KOR) 69-69-73.
212 – Jinho Choi (KOR) 70-72-70, Yoon Chung (USA) 68-74-70, Jaeho Kim (KOR) 72-71-69, Jaco Ahlers (RSA) 74-67-71, Dongmin Lee (KOR) 65-70-77.
213 – Minkyu Kim (KOR) 70-72-71, Neil Schietekat (RSA) 68-72-73, Taeyoung Kang (KOR) 71-70-72, I.J. Jang (KOR) 70-70-73, Hyungjoon Lee (KOR) 66-72-75, Minchel Choi (KOR) 70-67-76.
214 – Yeongsu Kim (KOR) 72-71-71, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 73-71-70, Sungmin Cho (KOR) 71-68-75.
215 – Wonjoon Lee (AUS) 70-72-73, Kyungnam Kang (KOR) 70-73-72, Dongkyu Jang (KOR) 71-70-74, Kangho Cha (KOR) 72-71-72, Jinsung Kim (KOR) 71-73-71.
216 – Daihan Lee (KOR) 71-72-73, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 71-71-74, Sanghun Shin (KOR) 74-69-73, Junghwan Lee (KOR) 68-73-75, Poom Pattaropong (THA) 70-71-75, Joonhyeong Jeon (KOR) 69-74-73, S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 73-71-72, Seungsu Han (USA) 72-72-72, Doyeob Mun (KOR) 68-77-71.
217 – Dongeun Kim (KOR) 70-72-75.
218 – Taehee Lee (KOR) 69-73-76, Seonghyeon Jeon (KOR) 70-73-75, Youngwoong Kim (KOR) 71-72-75, Sungho Yun (KOR) 72-72-74, Taekgi Lee (KOR) 71-74-73, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 70-75-73, Tanapat Pichaikool (THA) 71-74-73.
219 – Sangpil Yoon (KOR) 71-72-76, Inhoi Hur (KOR) 72-72-75, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 70-74-75, Kim Giwhan (KOR) 70-74-75, Jaehan Chun (KOR) 74-71-74, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 73-72-74, Kevin Phelan (IRL) 68-77-74.
220 – Dodge Kemmer (USA) 72-72-76, Sungkug Park (KOR) 69-75-76, Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 72-73-75.
221 – Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) 73-72-76.
222 – Sungho Lee (KOR) 73-69-80, Dongmin Kim (KOR) 72-72-78.
223 – Sangchai Kaewcharoen (THA) 71-74-78.