Kim Kyung-tae eyes Shinhan title

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Kim Kyung-tae eyes Shinhan title


The favorites to win the Shinhan Donghae Open pose during a media event at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Songdo, Incheon, yesterday, two days ahead of the beginning of the event. From left, Charlie Wi, John Huh, Kevin Na, Paul Casey, Kang Sung-hoon, Noh Seung-yeol and Kim Kyung-tae. [YONHAP]

A victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open is now six years in the waiting for Kim Kyung-tae. A runner-up finish last year despite a five-under-par performance on the final day was as close as he’s gotten to the winner’s trophy.

But the 26-year-old hasn’t given up on his quest to claim the event. At a press conference yesterday, he said he hopes to maintain his hard-earned form after early struggles and that a win this year at the Shinhan Donghae Open would be especially rewarding.

“This course is a place where I can boast iron shots, my specialty, and I think that was the reason why I did well last year,” Kim told a joint media conference held yesterday at the venue, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Songdo, Incheon.

The event, celebrating its 18th competition, changed its venue from the Lakeside Golf Course in Yongin, Gyeonggi, to the current course last year.

“I struggled early in the season and regained my form only recently, so I want to win this event no matter what,” Kim said.

Kim is no stranger to winning. He has one Asian Tour win (the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in May of last year), five Japan Tour wins and four Korean Tour titles. His first victory this season, though, came just last month at the Fujisankei Classic in Japan.

The Shinhan Donghae Open, to be held between Thursday and Sunday, boasts a 1 billion won ($900,333) purse, the largest amount of the 14 Korea Golf Tour events, along with the Kolon Korea Open next week. The winner alone will take home 200 million won.

A total of 120 players including dozens on overseas tours will vie for the title, including defending champion Paul Casey of England, who also said at the same media event that he is confident in his chances to win back-to-back titles.

Winning is also a goal for John Huh, whose 2010 victory at the event paved the way for success in Korea and then in the U.S. The 2010 Rookie of the Year on the Korean Tour is looking to become the first person of Asian descent to win the Rookie of the Year title on the PGA Tour.

After a three-year stint on the Korean Tour, the 22-year-old Korean-American earned his PGA Tour card and won his first title in his fifth event.

By Moon Gwang-lip []
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