It was two years since his last victory, but any nerves that overnight leader Tae Hee Lee may have had prior to his final round seemed to be quickly quashed with a birdie on the par 5 first hole. Or so it seemed…
As Lee teed off, his closest rival was Jiman Kang, who was on an incredible run of six under par after six holes, and three behind Lee. 41 year old Kang was hoping to emulate fellow 41 year old Sengyong Kim’s victory at the first Caido Series tournament. Unfortunately for Kang this was not to be the case, as his early birdies turned to bogeys.
The opening birdie for Lee put him out in front by four, but he quickly relinquished this with three bogeys in four holes, cutting his lead to two over Woohyun Kim. Lee steadied the ship with three pars from the seventh, to make the turn with two shot lead over Kim still intact.
The chasing pack was beginning to bunch up, with last week’s SK Telecom champion Jinho Choi moving to within two shots, after picking up four birdies by the 15th. However a bogey on the par 5 16th when a birdie was needed put an end to Choi’s late charge. He did birdie the 17th and finished off a solid week in T-3rd, gaining a few valuables spots as others finished poorly.
Seungtaek Lee moved alongside Taehee Lee with a birdie/bogey two shot swing. It was just a brief appearance at the top for the inexperienced Lee, as an 8 on the par 5 16th dropped him way down to T-11th.
Dongmin Lee and Woohyun Kim also birdied the 13th and were only one back. Game on between the trio to take home the title they desperately sought, after all three had been without a win on the KPGA Tour in a few years: Leader Lee won the Nefs Heritage in 2015, while Kim and Lee hadn’t won since 2014.
Taehee Lee was putting up a great fight to retain top spot and a birdie on the 15th restored a two shot lead.
This didn’t last too long though as a few groups ahead, Woohyun Kim rolled in a birdie on the 17th to halve the deficit again.
Dongmin Lee’s hopes of winning ended when he found the water on the 18th. Kim also bogeyed the 18th, so once again Lee had a two stroke lead, with two to play. Could he close it out? 🤔
A nervy tee off the 17th went unpunished as Lee received a free drop from the car path. Once again he failed to capitalize on another favourable situation, as his simple chip shot came up short of the green. His up and down maintained his two stroke lead heading to the 18th.
Another wayward tee shot left Lee in trouble in thick rough right of the 18th fairway. The two shot cushion meant he could afford to chop the ball out and a few lucky bounces down the car path, left him just short of the green. Nervy Lee ended up leaving himself a 4 foot bogey putt to win. With his nerves very much apparent, Lee unsurprisingly missed, meaning that the title would be decided in a playoff.
The playoff decider just took one hole, as Kim rolled in a 20 foot birdie putt to seal a dramatic yet deserved victory- his first in three years.
Photo credit: Mania Report website and Getty Images
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