Korea’s Dongkwan Kim admitted that he was nervous for the most parts of the final round of the Altron Big Easy Tour event held at Huddle Park Golf Club, but thanks to a simple yet solid game plan, he went on to claim a hard-fought one-stroke victory over Ricky Hendler and Luan Boshoff on Wednesday.
“I have two professional wins so far; one was a match-play and one was an IGT Tour event,” Kim stated. “In that stroke-play win, I came from behind and I was always trying to make birdie. But this time, I was tied for the lead going into the final round and it was very new to me. I was obviously nervous but I accepted it and I didn’t try to fight it.
“I tried to stay calm because playing with Ricky, he is the complete opposite of me; he’s fearless and he goes for shots. But I told myself that my game plan is just fairways and greens and to try to give myself as many opportunities as I can. That was my game plan and it worked.”
It was always going to be a tough contest in any event because Hendler is enjoying a good run of form and coming into the final round, Kim’s game plan had to be as simple and effective as it could be. But, after a lengthy spell away from competitive golf, to pull off a win as he did, was always going to be a once-in-a-lifetime feeling.
“It was tough,” said Kim, looking both exhausted and relieved. “I’ve heard these comments where PGA players saying ‘any win is tough’ but it’s tough to win on the Altron Big Easy circuit too. I was tied for the lead and the whole day I was not my normal self but I am very glad that I pulled it off and it’s going to give me a lot of confidence, I think.”
Kim signed for a 70 in the final round, taking his total to 13-under for the week. Hendler’s 71 proved to be inadequate, leaving him at 12-under for the tournament. Even though Boshoff’s five-under 67 was one of the two best scores for the round, it was still not enough to see him ascending to the top spot.
Kim – inspired by being a father to an 18-month-old baby and a deep conversation with his wife – found a way to dig even deeper to etch his name among the winners on the Altron Big Easy Tour, a feat achieved by many who have gone on to even greater things.
“After Q-School, I thought deeply about not playing anymore,” revealed Kim who plays out of Kyalami Country Club. “Because, if you make it on the Sunshine Tour, you have to travel. I love traveling but having a baby now, it’s tougher, I think. And also, money wise – we have a kid and it’s tough. I started work about three years ago and played part-time.
“But at the back of my mind I thought about other players giving it a 100% in golf and I’m out there feeling like a part-time golfer. So after the first Big Easy event at Blue Valley, I sat and had a deep conversation with my wife; she wanted me to play for at least another year and I accepted it and my mind was in a better place after that.”
Like many have found out before him, this win could be the stepping stone Kim needs to set him on a path of success, thereby underpinning the Altron Big Easy Tour’s mission to becoming a pathway to greatness.
By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)