Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour veteran Park Sang-hyun, 40, became the first Korean Tour player to earn 5 billion won in career earnings by winning the Genesis Championship, the tour’s largest prize fund (1.5 billion won in total).
Park shot a 4-under 68 with seven birdies and three bogeys in the final four rounds of the Genesis Championship at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea (Par 72, 7,467 yards) in Yeonsu-gu, Incheon on Friday.
With a final total of 17-under-par 271, Park tied with Lim Sung-jae and Bae Yong-joon for the title after Lim was eliminated in the first overtime playoff and Bae won on the second hole of the extra day.
Park added another victory to his career total of 12 on the Korean Tour, about a year and a half after winning the DB Insurance PromiOpen in April last year.
With the 300 million won in prize money, Park has accumulated 5.038 billion won in career earnings, making him the first player on the Korean Tour to surpass the 5 billion won mark.
He also won the tournament’s winner’s prize, a Genesis GV80 coupe, and a spot in the Genesis Scottish Open, a tournament co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, to be held next July.
With his season earnings of $654.29 million, Park quickly moved into second place on the money list behind Seung Soo Han (U.S. $717.84 million) and into fourth place (4,138.81 Genesis Grand Prize points). The top spot remained with Ham Jeong-woo (4,861.42 points), who missed the cut.
Korean Tour stalwart Park Sang-hyun, two-time PGA Tour winner and Hangzhou Asian Games team gold medalist Lim Sung-jae, and last season’s Korean Tour Rookie of the Year Bae Yong-joon were among the “cloud gallery” in the Champions Group that battled all day.
After starting the day three shots off the pace in third place, Park Sang-hyun opened the day with back-to-back birdies on the first through third holes, but Lim was unable to cut the deficit and the two shared the lead.
Bae Yong-jun, who started the final round two strokes back in second place, birdied the fourth and fifth holes to join the lead, setting up a fierce battle for the title.
Park took the lead at the ninth (par-4) and 11th (par-4), but bogeyed the very next hole to keep things tight.
At the 14th (par-4), Lim Sung-jae broke the deadlock after his second shot from the bunker around the green landed within a meter of the hole, and Bae Yong-joon birdied the same hole to move into a three-way tie for second with Park Sang-hyun.
After the 16th hole (par-4), there was another shake-up in the standings, with Lim and Bae Yong-joon tied for the lead and Park Sang-hyun one shot back in third.
On the 17th hole (par-3), Bae Yong-joon dropped a shot due to a chip shot error, allowing Lim Sung-jae to regain the lead and seemingly gain the advantage.
However, on the final 18th hole (par-5), Bae and Park sank birdies side-by-side before Lim missed a birdie putt from less than a meter away, sending the three players into a tie for the lead.
After Lim was eliminated in the first overtime on the 18th hole, Park Sang-hyun switched pin positions on the same hole to win the second overtime with a two-on and eagle to edge out Bae Yong-joon, who made par.
Park said, “I was nervous because I hadn’t won since I won the opening event last year, but I’m even happier to win a big tournament. I tried to play challengingly and boldly from the beginning,” he said, adding, “I will aim for both the grand prize and the prize money in the remaining tournaments this year.”
Lim, who was looking to regain the top spot on the Genesis Championship for the first time in four years and win his second Korean Tour event of the year after the Woori Financial Championship in May, had to settle for runner-up as he was unable to hold onto his lead after rounds one through three.
Bae Yong-jun, looking for his second career victory after winning the Honors K-SolaroCC Hanjangsang Invitational in July last year, also waited for his next opportunity.
Heo In-ho was fourth (14-under 274) and Kim Han-byul, who shaved seven strokes off her score on the day, was fifth (13-under 275).
Cho Woo-young, who shared Asian Games gold with Lim Sung-jae, finished seventh (9-under 279) and Jang Yoo-bin tied for eighth (8-under 280).
Last year’s winner, Kim Young-soo, was tied for 12th (7-under 281) and Ko Gun-taek, who has three wins this season, was tied for 38th (1-under 287). 토토사이트