Han Savours Wire-to-Wire Success

Han Seung-su triumphed in the Kolon Korea Open. Picture by Asian Tour.

Cheonan, Korea: Korean-American Han Seung-su claimed the jewel in the crown of Korean golf with an imperious wire-to-wire victory in the KRW1.4 billion (about US$1.075 million) Kolon Korea Open.

On another hot and sunny day at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, Han cool-headedly handled the pressure of front running to close with an even-par 71 for a six-under winning total and a commanding six-shot win over Korean Kang Kyung-nam, who also carded a 71.

“This is such a great honour,” said 36-year-old Han, who was born in Incheon, Korea. When he was 13, he moved to the United States, where he still resides.

“I first started playing in Korea when I was 13, so the Korea Open means a lot to me. I think it is the best tournament in Korea,” said Han, who overcame foot pain and a sore throat en route to picking up a cheque for US$222,222 for winning the 10th leg of the 2023 Asian Tour season.

“It was about being mentally strong and my putting was great. I holed some long ones,” said Han, whose triumph ensured he secured one of two spots on offer to next month’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Kang took the other.

In his only previous Major appearance, Han made the cut in the PGA Championship in 2018.

In his 14-year professional career, Han has registered other significant wins, notably the Casio World Open in Japan in 2017, and the LG Signature Players Championship on the Korean PGA Tour in 2020.

He also enjoyed success in the amateur game, attending the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and winning the 2006 Porter Cup, a prominent event on the amateur calendar in America.

Han is the seventh American to win the Kolon Korea Open, following in the footsteps of Rickie Fowler (2011), Edward Loar (2004), John Daly (2003), Mike Cunning (1994), Scott Hoch (1990 and 1991), and Orville Moody, who won the first three editions of the event starting in 1958.

His six-shot winning margin matched the record set by Fowler, based on records going back to 1996.

Korean Choi Seung-bin claimed third place on 285 thanks to a closing 68, the best round of the day, and one of only two sub-70 rounds, on the taxing Woo Jeong Hills track.

Defending champion Kim Min-kyu of Korea returned a 73 to tie for fourth on two-over with countrymen Lee Dong-min, Lee Jaek-yeong and Lee Junghwan and Australian Brendan Jones, this year’s New Zealand Open champion.

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