I thought I might not win.”
In the final round of the tournament, the leaderboard was in flux. With just the 17th and 18th holes left to play, Dongmin Kim (25-NH NB) was in hot and cold water as one mistake could put him out of contention. A bogey on the 17th put him one stroke behind the leader, but he turned it around with an eagle on the final 18th hole to claim his first career victory.
Kim Dong-min carded five birdies and two bogeys, including an eagle, for a final round total of 8-under-par 280 in the final round of the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s KB Financial Live Championship (total prize money of 700 million won) at Blackstone Golf Club (Par 72-7270 yards) in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday.
It was a back-and-forth drama. After a shaky start the day before, he made a triple bogey and a double bogey to finish 10th at 3-under par 213. Five strokes behind the leader and virtually out of contention, he made four birdies in the first half of the tournament to cut four strokes off the lead and then made an ‘eagle’ on the final 18 holes.
Kim Dong-min pumps his fist in the air after making an eagle putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the KPGA Korean Tour’s KB Financial Livechampionship at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday. Provided by | KPGA
“After three rounds yesterday, I never thought I would win,” said Kim Dong-min. When I looked at the score after the first round today, I thought, ‘I can do it,’ so I worked hard until the end and it paid off. I’m really happy to get an eagle,” he said, “I was so nervous and nervous, but I’m so happy to get my first win.”
Kim Dong-min, who made his professional debut at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Jakarta, where he won a bronze medal in the team event under the Korean flag, was in his fourth year of competition this year but hadn’t won a title. He attributes his victory to improving his tee shot confidence.
“I’ve been missing a lot of tee shots, so my scores haven’t been good, and I think I’ve been slipping away from winning even when I’m in the lead because of my tee shots,” he said. “In the first half of last year, I didn’t make any cuts, and I played badly in the second half as well. I was making three or four OBs a round, and I wasn’t playing well. The problem was my tee shot,” he reflected.
Kim Dong-min tees off on the 1st hole during the final round of the KB Financial Livechampionship on the KPGA Korean Tour at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do, on Sept. 28. Provided by | KPGA
“I didn’t take any lessons, but I thought a lot about it and tried to find the answer. I found the answer to some extent by changing the weight of my clubs little by little, and if I was scoring 10 to 20 points before, I think I’m up to 70 now,” he said. “I had an OB in this tournament as well, but the secret to my victory was to play the course safely while gaining confidence in my tee shots.”
On the day, he made a disappointing bogey on the 17th hole with two holes to go, which put him out of contention for the lead, so he had to play the final 18 holes.
“When I bogeyed the 17th hole, I thought, ‘It’s going to be tough to win,’ but then I looked at the scoreboard before the 18th hole and saw that the leader was 7-under and I was 6-under. I thought if I made eagle, I’d be 8 under and win or at least extend it, so I took a chance.” “I had 210 meters to my second shot and I could have dropped it in front of the green for a safe birdie. However, my 3-wood worked well and I ended up in the cup 6 meters from the hole and made an eagle,” he explained.
Kim Dong-min kisses the trophy after winning his first career title at the KPGA Korean Tour’s KB Financial Live Championship at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon-si메이저사이트, Gyeonggi-do, on Aug. 28. Provided by | KPGA
Now that he’s won his first title, his next step is to win one more before the end of the season. He also has his sights set on the Continental Tour.
“My first goal was to win,” says Kim. I feel like I’ve gained more confidence after doing so. “I’ve always wanted to go to the PGA Tour, but I think I’ll have to go through the Confederation Tour, and I was a little hesitant to go because I didn’t have a win before. But now that I have won, I think I should make a plan,” he said, expressing his intention to challenge the PGA.
Meanwhile, Kim made his debut on the KPGA Korean Tour in 2020 and won his first career title in 53 tournaments. With this victory, Kim is now ranked first in Genesis points (2,351.80) and second on the Genesis money list (338 million won).