Korean held off Kang and Macdonald to earn the only full card available this week
Korean amateur Dongmin Kim closed with a 2-under 68 to hold off former Web.com Tour players Alex Kang of the U.S. and Stuart Macdonald of Canada to win the PGA TOUR Series-China’s third and final Global Qualifying Tournament. It was a week to remember at the Series’ first event outside of Greater China, with the 20-year-old Kim coming out on top after four hot days at Laguna Golf Phuket.
Kim carded rounds of 67-64-67-68 to finish at 14-under and secure a two-shot triumph over Macdonald (67) and Kang (68). With the victory, Kim secured the only full Tour card available this week, while the next 11 finishers have earned status through the first six tournaments on the schedule. Finishers 13-35 (and ties) earned conditional status through the first six events.
Thailand’s Bhurinat Songpaiboon fired a 65 to tie for fourth, at 8-under with Americans Nick Latimer (67) and Jared Howard (71). Japanese duo Narutoshi Yamaoka and Raiki Okamoto both shot 72s to claim seventh and eighth, respectively.
Kim is the second Korean player to win a Global Qualifying Tournament this year after Taeho Kim (no relation) won in Guangzhou, China, last week. The two are good friends and played on the Korean national team together. Dongmin Kim earned a career-high position of No. 53 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Despite being the youngest player in his group Friday, Kim looked comfortable and never surrendered his lead throughout the day. After bogeying the fourth hole, Kim recovered to birdie holes 6, 9, 12, and 14 before bogeying 17. At that point, it didn’t matter.
“It was hard to play the first nine holes today, and I was struggling to find my rhythm a little bit. I don’t think I felt any nerves, but I wasn’t playing my best,” said Kim. “Luckily on the back nine I was able to pick it up and was able to make some putts.”
Even after the victory, Kim’s demeanor was calm, but it was obvious the win meant a lot to him as he plans to turn pro and start his rookie year.
“It’s my first tournament in 2019, so I’m really happy to get this win. I think if I keep practicing hard, I can have some good results in China,” said Kim, who played every round this week with Kang. “It was great to play with Alex [Kang]. He is a good player, and I learned a lot from him. His 61 in the second round was pretty good.”
Also finishing inside the top 12 was Argentina’s Martin Kim, who carded an impressive 64 to share ninth at 5-under, with Spain’s Samuel Del Val (65). Two Americans, Eric Beringer (71) and Henry Westmoreland IV (73), secured the final two cards for guaranteed starts.
|1||a-Dongmin Kim (South Korea)||67-64-67-68—266 (-14)|
|T2||Alexander Kang (U.S.)||71-61-68-68—268 (-12)|
|T2||Stuart Macdonald (Canada)||67-65-69-67—268 (-12)|
|T4||Nick Latimer (U.S.)||69-67-69-67—272 (-8)|
|T4||Bhurinat Songpaiboon (Thailand)*||70-67-70-65—272 (-8)|
|T4||Jared Howard (U.S.)*||65-70-66-71—272 (-8)|
|7||Narutoshi Yamaoka (Japan)*||67-67-67-72—273 (-7)|
|8||Raiki Okamoto (Japan)*||66-71-65-72—274 (-6)|
|T9||Martin Kim (Argentina)*||73-69-69-64—275 (-5)|
|T9||Samuel Del Val (Spain)*||72-70-68-65—275 (-5)|
|T11||Henry Westmoreland IV (U.S.)||69-67-67-73—276 (-4)|
|T11||Eric Beringer (U.S.)||66-69-70-71—276 (-4)|
Did you know that Dongmin Kim was the only amateur to earn full status at any of PGA TOUR Series-China’s 2019 Global Qualifying Tournaments. Kim is planning on playing a full year on PGA TOUR Series-China.
- There was no cut this week.
- The high temperature Friday was 93.
- The course is a par-70 totalling 6,580 yards.
- There were 113 players from 18 nationalities.
- Players from 11 nationalities earned status this week. They come from South Korea, U.S., Thailand, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Austria, New Zealand, England, Sweden, and India.
- Gavin Hall played golf at the University of Texas and might have had the best recovery of the tournament. Hall started the final round tied for 57th after rounds of 77-69-72 put him at 8-over. A final-round 64 bumped him into 25th good for conditional status for the first six events of 2019.
- The next-closest amateur to winner Dongmin Kim was Australian James Grierson, who finished 26th to earn conditional status.
- India’ Priyanshu Singh earned the last conditional card, in 41st place. He is the only player from India to earn any status from our three Global Qualifying Tournaments.
- Alex Kang still holds a couple of PGA TOUR Series-China scoring records. At the 2016 Cadillac Championship at Poly Golf Club Chengdu, Kang finished at 29-under 259, the best 72-hole score in Tour history. His middle rounds of 61-62 is the record for the best 36 holes, and he’s one of three players to shoot 61 in an official round. Gunn Charoenkul and Pariya Junhasavasdikul, both in 2014, are the others.
- In 2018, Alex Kang made the cut in eight of 22 Web.com Tour events, his best finish a tie for sixth at the Mexico Championship one year ago this week.
- Stuart Macdonald was playing in Asia for the first time in his career. The former Purdue University golfer plays out of Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, British Columbia, site of the Mackenzie Tour’s season-opening event each year.
- Stuart Macdonald was a 2018 Web.com Tour member, with 20 starts. He only made four cuts in his rookie season, his best finish a tie for 39th at the Mexico Championship.
- Nick Latimer was originally a walk-on at Kent State University. He eventually earned a scholarship to the Ohio school, where he was a teammate with Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, currently a PGA TOUR member.
- Henry Westmoreland IV was teammates with Chandler Blanchet at the University of West Florida. Blanchet recently earned his PGA TOUR Latinoamerica card after playing the 2018 season in Canada, on the Mackenzie Tour.
- A year ago, Eric Beringer, a University of Colorado product, was the second-round leader at the Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournament outside Phoenix after opening 69-69. He eventually tied for 16th but didn’t play in any 2018 Mackenzie Tour tournaments.
- Eric Beringer played six PGA TOUR Latinoamerica tournaments in 2016, with two made cuts that season. His best finish was a 35th-place showing at the Guatemala Stella Artois Open outside Antigua.
- Despite a final-round 73, Henry Westmoreland IV still managed to tie for 11th, at 4-under, and secure six guaranteed starts for 2019.
- Two players from Thailand secured status this week in their home country. Bhurinat Songpaiboon from Bangkok tied for fourth to earn six guaranteed starts, while Phuket’s Thanathip Puaktes finished 31st to earn conditional status through six events.
“I was training really hard before this event. I was practicing a lot and prepared as best as I could, so it’s great to see the hard work pay off.” – Dongmin Kim
“I’m planning to turn pro right after this event, and I am excited for my first year as a professional.” – Dongmin Kim
“I couldn’t really get it going today. I left a couple of putts short in the heart, which was kind of upsetting. Not a bad day putting, but it wasn’t good enough.” – Stuart Macdonald
“Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking too much about what [Dongmin Kim] was doing. I just tried to focus on my own game and give myself chances for birdies. It was close, and he played really well all day today.” – Stuart Macdonald
“Hopefully I can play all the [PGA TOUR Series-China] events this year and finish top five and get back to the Web (.com Tour).” – Stuart Macdonald
“I think I expected to finish in the top 12 and get guaranteed starts, and I played good enough for that to happen.” – Stuart Macdonald
“I’m really excited to experience China. It should be interesting and different, and I’m excited to travel all over China and play golf.” – Stuart Macdonald
“I’m pretty happy with the week. I had a good second round, shot 61, and had some good under-par rounds, so I’m happy.” – Alex Kang
“Our goal was to win this week, obviously.” – Alex Kang
“I’m not too sure about my schedule this year. I wanted to get full status, and I did for six events but we’ll see how the year goes.” – Alex Kang
“I thought [Dongmin Kim] was really good. He was born in 1998 and is super young. He’s a really good ball-striker, good putter, good attitude. I think he’ll do great.” – Alex Kang
“Actually, I played my best golf today. No mistakes. I could have done better because my putts didn’t fall that much, but I would take it every day, playing like this.” – Bhurinat Songpaiboon
“It was actually hotter this week than I usually play at home in Bangkok, but I loved it.” – Bhurinat Songpaiboon
“It’s always stressful, so I’m really excited to get the job done this week. I’m very excited.” – Bhurinat Songpaiboon
“I’m going to keep doing the same thing in China. My game is good right now.” – Bhurinat Songpaiboon
“Today my driving was great. I hit it really good off the tee, and I put myself in a lot of chances to make birdies and I finished 8-under.” – Bhurinat Songpaiboon
“I’m happy with the week. I had a couple breaks that probably didn’t go my way early in the tournament. Two out of the four rounds I finished 2-over in my last three holes, which left a sour taste in my mouth for dinner, but I was able to keep fighting. My caddie kept telling me to keep fighting, so we did.” – Nick Latimer
“My experience [in Phuket] was great. I had a great Airbnb, and I rented a scooter, so I’ve been driving back and forth to the golf course every day, and I’m disconnecting myself from the tournament which is always nice. I also think I had the best caddie here. She brought me food, she was on time, she kept up, she did everything.” – Nick Latimer
“I’m excited. I’ve never had status on any PGA TOUR-sanctioned Tour, so I’m looking forward to that. I started playing full time professionally about a year ago, and in a matter of a couple months, I’ve locked up a full Asian Tour card, full PGA TOUR Series-China Tour card, so (I’m) really looking forward to 2019.” – Nick Latimer
“Today was a little bit of a struggle early. I made some great par saves and finally got it going in the middle of my round and birdied three out of my first seven holes in the front nine. The back nine tightened up a little bit, but my putter hung in there and bailed me out quite a few times today.” – Nick Latimer
“It was a great round. I made a lot of putts. I made a few mistakes in the middle of the round, but I stayed focused and that’s why I could finish well.” – Martin Kim
“I made a lot of putts today so I’m so happy about that.” – Martin Kim
“I’m really happy to play in China. It’s a big chance for me this year. Obviously, I want to go to the U.S. and play on the Web(.com Tour) so I’m happy because I have full status this year in China and hopefully I make it this year.” – Martin Kim
“I didn’t play that well the first three days. I putted OK, but I didn’t make them. I’m not sure why, but I was calm today and I think that was key. I played with confidence and stayed real calm, and it happened today so I’m happy.” – Martin Kim