Star-Struck Moon Survives Late Meltdown

Moon Kyong-jun emerged victorious at Namseoul. Picture by  Paul Lakatos/OneAsia.
Moon Kyong-jun emerged victorious at Namseoul. Picture by Paul Lakatos/OneAsia.

Seoul, Korea: Little-known Moon Kyong-jun claimed the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in a thrilling error-strewn finish for the first victory of his career.

Holding a four-shot lead over playing partner Gareth Paddison from New Zealand on the final hole, Moon stumbled home with a triple-bogey seven but still won by two shots.

The Korean signed for a one-over-par 73 to finish the OneAsia event on four-under-par 284.

Paddison, who bogeyed the last three holes, closed with a 74 to finish joint second with compatriot Ryan Fox (72), Australian Jason Norris (77) and Korean Kim Do-hoon (68).

Adding to the dramatic finish, Kim birdied five holes on the trot from the 12th but also bogeyed the problematic 18th at Namseoul Country Club.

Moon started the day two behind leader Norris, who was bidding to become the first foreigner to win the title in a decade.

American Mark Calcavecchia, winner of the British Open in 1989, was the last non-Korean to take the title back in 2004

The pair were level with seven to play but the turning point came when Moon birdied 13 and 14 while Norris made double on 14. The Korean was in complete control and coasting until he kept the crowd on the edge of their seats on the last.

Moon, aged 32, posted his best ever professional finish last year when he was second in the Korean PGA Championship but that is a distant memory now after winning one of Korea’s most prestigious golf tournaments.

“Unbelievable!” said Moon, who won US$180,995. “I have waited a long time for this. I really don’t know what happened at the last. My worst hole all week but thankfully I had a good lead.”

He was a picture of consistency all week, calm, focused and displaying a technically complete swing.

Only the par-four 18th blotted his copybook where he eventually found the green in four shots and then three-putted.

He added his name to the GS Caltex Maekyung Open trophy, joining an elite group of his country’s most distinguished golfers including veterans Choi Sang-ho, Kim Jong-duk, Park Nam-sin and Kang Wook-soon plus rising stars Bae Sang-moon and Kim Bi-o.

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