Korean Minkyu Kim claimed his second Kolon Korea Open presented by ELORD in the space of two years today to draw a line under a couple of challenging seasons.

He closed with a five-under-par 66 at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, just south of Seoul – the scene of his win in 2022 – to finish on 11-under for a three-shot victory over compatriot Younghan Song, the overnight leader who carded a 71.

Koreans Yubin Jang, who returned a best of the day 65, and Kyungnam Kang, in with a 71, finished in a tie for third, one shot back.

Filipino Miguel Tabuena fired a 67 to take sole possession of fifth a stroke further behind, his best result of the season.

The result means both Kim and Song secured the two places available in year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon in July, as the event is part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Kim, aged 23 and a professional since 2017, started Sunday two behind Song but moved two ahead of playing-partner Song at the turn, with Jang three back. He’d toured the front in three-under with an eagle, on eight, two birdies and a bogey.

By hole 12, which he birdied, he had a three-shot cushion, but it looked like he was in trouble on the par-three 13th following an unexpected and uncharacteristically lose tee shot. His ball landed in the water in front of the green but somehow it popped up and finished on the edge of the island green, in semi-rough. He capitalised on his good fortune and got up and down for a par and quickly put that behind him by making a birdie on the next to go four ahead.

He dropped a shot on the 16th and with Jang, playing two groups ahead, carding a birdie on 17 it meant the gap was down to two.

However, a confident birdie on the par-five last sealed the deal for Kim. Song also made birdie on 18 to snatch second place from Jang, who made bogey there, and Kang – second here last year and narrowly missing out on another trip to The Open.

Two years ago Kim was on the crest of a wave after winning his National Open by beating countryman Mingyu Cho in a three-hole play-off, but two months later he was in a car crash on the eve of the International Series Korea on Jeju Island.

It was two months before he could play again and he has gradually worked his way back since, including finishing equal fourth here last year.

However, this month has proven to be pivotal for Kim as he won the Descente Korea Munsingwear Matchplay at the start of month for just his second win on home soil before today’s victory validated all his hard work.

It is the sixth win of his career which began with three wins in 2017 – two on the Euro Pro Tour and one on the Jamega Pro Tour – before he made global headlines the following season with victory in the D+D Real Czech Challenge to become the European Challenge Tour’s youngest winner at the age of 17.

“I feel like I am dreaming,” said Kim.

“[On hole 13] I tried to hit a fade, but it flew too low. It hit water and came up. I went over and the ball was there.”

When KJ Choi won the SK Telecom Open earlier this year he had a similar incident on an island green in a play-off.

Said Kim: “I was thinking about K.J Choi’s SK Telecom Open island shot at that moment. After I survived that I felt I was going to win, and then I birdied the next hole.”

Victory in 2022 also saw him qualify for The Open, played at St Andrews. He did not make the cut but will hope to rectify that this summer.

“I have been to Royal Troon before to watch an Open when I was at junior high school, so I will go there with good memories,” he added.

Tabuena had a chance to win today and was five under for his round after 14, just off the lead, but made his first bogey of the day on 15 and then dropped another shot on the next.

He bounced back on the last hitting a fairway wood into six feet but just missed the eagle putt.

“It was a great week overall; I have been battling some things with my game,” said Tabuena.

“After I missed the cut in Oman this year, I changed my irons and then I lost my confidence. Then a couple of weeks ago I made the switch back to the irons and putter I was using before. I am slowly getting there but my game is trending. Any week you finish top five it’s excellent.”

Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho also had an encouraging week. He signed off with a 73 to tie for 13th, on even par for the tournament. Like Tabuena it was his best result of 2024.

The Asian Tour has a one week break now before heading to the International Series Morocco, where Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond will try and defend the title he won in 2022, when the event was last played. The tournament will be played on the Red Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in the capital Rabat once again, from July 4-7.

Total prizemoney for the event is KRW1,400,000,000 (approx. US$1.013 million).

Scores after round four of the Kolon Korea Open presented by ELORD, being played Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, a 7,326-yard par-71 course (am – denotes amateur):

273 – Minkyu Kim (KOR) 70-66-71-66.

276 – Younghan Song (KOR) 70-68-67-71.

277 – Yubin Jang (KOR) 68-72-72-65, Kyungnam Kang (KOR) 67-67-72-71.

278 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 70-73-68-67.

281 – Inhoi Hur (KOR) 69-72-68-72, Junggon Hwang (KOR) 72-68-70-71.

282 – Jeongwoo Ham (KOR) 69-73-72-68, Songgyu Yoo (KOR) 70-69-71-72.

283 – Sangmoon Bae (KOR) 67-74-73-69, Sanghee Lee (KOR) 75-68-71-69, Steve Lewton (ENG) 68-71-73-71.

284 – Junghwan Lee (KOR) 72-69-74-69, Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA) 70-72-72-70, Richard T. Lee (CAN) 70-74-70-70, Taichi Kho (HKG) 73-67-71-73.

285 – Kyongjun Moon (KOR) 72-71-76-66, Jaewoong Eom (KOR) 71-73-71-70, Minsu Kim #921 (KOR) 74-71-69-71.

286 – Yeongsu Kim (KOR) 69-75-73-69, David Drysdale (SCO) 72-71-72-71, Gunn Charoenkul (THA) 69-73-73-71, Takashi Ogiso (JPN) 72-73-70-71, Sangpil Yoon (KOR) 69-72-73-72, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 72-70-72-72.

287 – Heemin Chang (KOR) 71-74-77-65, Jinho Choi (KOR) 72-71-71-73.

288 – Travis Smyth (AUS) 72-73-75-68, Gyumin Lee (KOR) 74-70-75-69, Soomin Lee (KOR) 73-71-74-70, Seungtaek Oh (KOR) 70-75-73-70, Poom Saksansin (THA) 71-72-74-71, Guntaek Koh (KOR) 73-69-73-73.

289 – Takahiro Hataji (JPN) 72-72-75-70, Shugo Imahira (JPN) 70-73-74-72, Hanbyeol Kim (KOR) 75-68-73-73, Berry Henson (USA) 72-69-74-74, Jinjae Byun (KOR) 68-72-74-75, Seunghyuk Kim (KOR) 71-71-72-75.

290 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 72-73-77-68, Joonhyeong Jeon (KOR) 74-67-75-74, Hongtaek Kim (KOR) 72-68-76-74, Kazuki Higa (JPN) 71-70-75-74, Taehoon Ok (KOR) 68-76-72-74, Mingyu Cho (KOR) 72-73-70-75.

291 – Sihwan Kim (USA) 72-72-74-73, Chanwoo Kim (KOR) 72-71-75-73.

292 – Eunshin Park (KOR) 70-75-77-70, Seungmin Kim (KOR) 69-75-74-74, Sanghyun Park (KOR) 77-68-72-75.

293 – Brendan Jones (AUS) 72-71-79-71, Beomsoo Kim (KOR) 72-71-77-73, Taeho Kim (KOR) 71-70-78-74, Yongtae Kim (KOR) 72-70-76-75, Sungyeol Kwon (KOR) 67-75-76-75, Wooyoung Cho (KOR) 71-71-75-76.

294 – Jonghark Kim (KOR) 72-70-76-76.

295 – Junsung Kim (KOR) 70-73-79-73, Changwoo Lee (KOR) 72-69-80-74.

297 – Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 74-71-74-78, Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 68-73-75-81.

299 – Seungbin Choi (KOR) 72-72-79-76.

301 – Jack Thompson (AUS) 71-73-78-79.

304 – Rashid Khan (IND) 74-71-84-75.

309 – Seonghyeon An (am, KOR) 75-70-80-84.

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