Seung-Bin Choi, 22, who emerged as a new star when he won the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour’s major event, the KPGA Championship, in June, got his second chance at victory.
Choi shot a 6-under 65 in the second round of the KPGA Korean Tour’s iMBank Open ($500 million in prize money) at Pami Hills Country Club (par-71) in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province, on Sunday to take a share of the lead with a 10-under 132 total.
Choi, who shot a 4-under 67 with five birdies in the first round the previous day, made 12 birdies over the two days, including seven birdies and one bogey.
“My game has been picking up since last week,” said Choi, who bounced back with a third-place finish at the Kolon Korea Open after his first win but hasn’t finished in the top 20 in his last five events. My shot feeling is getting better,” he said, adding, “I didn’t miss any birdie opportunities yesterday and today.”
“I feel more relaxed, and I have fun playing golf at every tournament,” said Choi, who said his game hasn’t changed since winning his first title.
“If I can continue to feel as good as I did on the last two days, the results will be good,” said Choi, who hopes to win one more tournament.
Yoon Sang-pil, who has been playing on the KPGA Korean Tour since 2019 but hasn’t had much success, shaved seven strokes off his score, including a hole-in-one, to join him atop the leaderboard.
Yoon’s best finish was a runner-up finish at the 2018 Huon’s Celebrity Pro-Am before joining the KPGA Korean Tour.
A fifth-place finish at the Woori Financial Championship is his only other top-10 finish this year.
After his tee shot on the eighth hole (par-3, 198 yards) went into the hole, Yoon jumped to a share of the lead with four birdies on the back nine.
It was Yoon’s first hole-in-one in an official tournament and his first time in the massage chair.
“It was unexpected luck,” said Yoon. After the hole-in-one, I was able to gradually stabilize my game and regain my confidence. I’m very happy to finish tied for the lead.”
Yoon Sang-pil, who finished the third round of the Woori Financial Championship tied for second place by one stroke but shot a 75 in the final round, and the second round of the LX Championship tied for first place but shot an 80 in the third round, said, “Both times I played aggressively and messed up. This time, I will try to maintain my lead by playing conservatively.”
Heo In-ho, who hasn’t had much of a breakout season since picking up his fourth career KPGA Korean Tour victory at the 2021 GS Caltex Mae Kyung Open, returned home one stroke off the lead at 9-under 133.
“I’ve been frustrated with my recent results, but it feels good to be in the lead after a long time,” said Heo, who shot a 5-under 66 on the day.
“I feel confident every time I come here,” said Heo, who was runner-up in this event in 2016. “It’s a course that keeps you going when you’re in a good mood. Tomorrow, when I have a birdie opportunity, I’m going to take it,” he said.
Go Gun-taek, who is looking for her fourth win of the season, shot a 4-under 67 and enters the third round in a tie for fifth place (7-under 135), three shots behind the leaders.
Hong Soon-sang, who also made the cut, is in a tie for fifth after dropping two strokes.
Park Eun-shin, who led the field on the first day, was unable to cut a single stroke and slipped to a tie for eighth place (5-under par 137).
Defending champion Moon Do-yup and Kim Han-byul, who has finished runner-up in this event two years in a row (2021 and last year), finished the second round tied for 14th (4-under 138). 토토사이트