Kim Dong-min (25, Nonghyup Bank, NH), a player with plenty of potential but no tournament wins to show for it, pulled off a dramatic turnaround.

Kim shot a 5-under 67 in the final round of the 2023안전놀이터 KPGA Korean Tour’s KB Financial Live Championship at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do, on Aug. 28 to finish with an 8-under 280 total.

Kim made his debut on the Korean Tour in 2020 and was touted as the next big thing in Korean men’s golf. However, he was unable to capitalize on his success and was able to lift the trophy in just his 53rd start on the top tour.

After winning the title, Kim said, “I didn’t expect to win the title after the third round. After playing the front nine, I saw that there wasn’t much of a gap between me and the leader. I played my best until the end, and I’m so happy that the win came. I was so nervous waiting for the win, and that nervousness made me happy.”

The key to his victory was an eagle on the final 18th (par-5). “I knew I was tied for the lead after 17 holes. “I knew I was tied for the lead on the 17th, but I made a bogey, so I knew I had to make at least a birdie on the last hole to force a playoff or win,” he said. “I was debating whether to hit my second shot with a 2-iron or a 3-wood. I decided to go for an eagle rather than a birdie, so I chose the 3-wood and it landed close to the pin and I was able to make the eagle. My last putt was for eagle,” he laughed.

Kim Dong-min. ⓒ KPGA
Kim attributed his recent improvement to his driver. “I had a lot of OBs going right. I was too stubborn to hit it straight,” he said, adding, “I practiced my driver shots intensively by myself to improve my fade. Now, my tee shots are much better than in the first half of last year, and I feel more confident.”

Now that he’s gotten the win he wanted, Kim is aiming to add one more victory and win the Genesis Grand Prize. He also expressed his desire to participate in the final stage of the Conferitour Q-School.

With the 140 million won in prize money, Kim moved to second place in the prize money standings (338 million won) and first place in Genesis Points.

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