A surprise: Korean-American wins open

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A surprise: Korean-American wins open

Korean-American John Huh pulled off a surprise win while Choi Kyung-ju came in second at the Shinhan Donghae Open at the Lakeside Country Club in Yongin, Gyeonggi, yesterday.

“My swing got a lot smoother in practice last week and I felt good coming into the event,” Huh said. “It was an unexpected win and it feels good to repay my family for the hard work they put into supporting me.”

Heading into the final day of competition, Choi was in second place and managed to hit four birdies, but he also had two bogies and a triple bogie on the 13th hole to fall short of winning his third Donghae Open title.

“The speed with which the ball travels on the green here is different from the Tour Championship and it was tough to get adjusted,” Choi said. “I’m content with having had the opportunity to compete with the younger guys in the event. I recently perfected my draw shot, which made it easier for me to compete. I think I will be able to put up better results in the United States next year.”

Big names like Camillo Villegas of Colombia and Angel Cabrera of Argentina attracted a lot of attention prior to the start of the event.

But it was the unheralded Huh who managed to up his unsuspecting competition.

On the final day of competition, Huh hit four-under-par 68 on the day for a total 11-under-par 277 to claim his first victory in Korea and the 160 million won ($141,600) cash prize.

Huh trailed Choi and Bae Sang-moon at the start of the final round but inched closer to his competition by sinking a bunker shot on the third hole for a birdie and repeated the performance in the sixth, ninth and 11th holes.

Meanwhile, veteran Choi made the crucial mistake of bogeying on the 13th hole with a poor tee shot.

Huh took full advantage of the situation and birdied again in the 14th hole to take the lead.

At the end of the day, Huh defeated Choi by two strokes.

With the win, Huh moved up 20 spots to fifth overall in the KPGA earner’s list.

The 20-year-old Huh, who resides in California, joined the KPGA Tour in February 2009. In his rookie season, Huh finished 47th to retain his qualification.

Bae, Park Eun-shin and Noh Seung-yul finished the event tied for third place behind Choi with eight-under-par 280.

The other big names, Villegas and Cabrera, finished a disappointing 20th and 39th, respectively.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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