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Friday, March 1, 2024

Laguna Golf Phuket Glory for Amateur Kim

Korean amateur Kim Dong-min closed with a two-under-par 68 to hold off former Web.com Tour players Alex Kang of the United States and Canadian Stuart Macdonald to win the PGA Tour Series-China’s third and final Global Qualifying Tournament.

It was a week to remember at the Series’ first event outside of Greater China, with 20-year-old Kim coming out on top after four hot days at Laguna Golf Phuket, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

Kim carded rounds of 67-64-67-68 to finish at 14-under and secure a two-shot triumph over Macdonald (67) and Kang (68). With the victory, Kim secured the only full Tour card available this week, while the next 11 finishers have earned status through the first six tournaments on the schedule. Finishers 13-35 (and ties) earned conditional status through the first six events.

Thai Bhurinat Songpaiboon fired a 65 to tie for fourth at eight-under with Americans Nick Latimer (67) and Jared Howard (71). Japanese duo Narutoshi Yamaoka and Raiki Okamoto both shot 72s to claim seventh and eighth respectively.

Kim is the second Korean player to win a Global Qualifying Tournament this year after Kim Tae-ho (no relation) won in Guangzhou, China, last week. The two are good friends and played on the Korean national team together. Kim Dong-min earned a career-high position of 53rd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Despite being the youngest player in his group, Kim looked comfortable and never surrendered his lead throughout the day. After bogeying the fourth hole, Kim recovered to birdie holes six, nine, 12 and 14 before bogeying 17. At that point, it didn’t matter.

“It was hard to play the first nine holes today. I was struggling to find my rhythm a little bit. I don’t think I felt any nerves, but I wasn’t playing my best,” said Kim. “Luckily on the back nine I was able to pick it up and was able to make some putts.”

Even after the victory, Kim’s demeanour was calm, but it was obvious the win meant a lot to him as he plans to turn pro and start his rookie year.

“It’s my first tournament in 2019, so I’m really happy to get this win. I think if I keep practicing hard, I can have some good results in China,” said Kim, who played every round this week with Kang. “It was great to play with Alex [Kang]. He is a good player and I learned a lot from him. His 61 in the second round was pretty good.”

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