Korean Youngster Is Over the Moon With Sk Telecom Triumph

Sun 27 May 2007

Korean Youngster Is Over the Moon With Sk Telecom Triumph

Seoul, May 27: Local hero Bae Sang-moon was on top of the world as he rolled to an emphatic six-stroke triumph at the SK Telecom Open on Sunday.

The Korean young gun fended off a late charge by Australian talent Aaron Baddeley and Kim Hyung-tae with a steady five-under-par 67 at the BA Vista Country Club. Bae completed a dominant wire-to-wire success for his maiden success on the Asian Tour.

Bae, with one win on the domestic circuit last year, delivered a winning total of 17-under-par 271 and walked away with the top prize of US$129,171. With the win, Bae is ranked 13th on the Asian Tour?s UBS Order of Merit.

Baddeley, who is a two-time winner on the US PGA Tour, enjoyed a bogey free 68 while Kim carded a 69 to claim joint second place. Australia?s Unho Park recorded his second top-five finish this season when he shot a 69 in tied fourth position together with Korean duo of Kang Kyung-nam and Choi Hyuk-jae who carded matching 70s. American David Oh shot a 71 for a 279 total also in joint fourth place.

Bae, who picked up the game at the age of nine, was thankful to have his mother Si Ok-hee on the bag this week as he fired six birdies against a lone bogey on the final day.

?I am extremely happy. I dedicate this win to my mother as she has been instrumental in my success today,? said the winner.

?This is the last time my mother will caddie for me as she is getting tired. My mum is 51 and I am thankful to have her on the bag as she helped calm my nerves,? admitted Bae.

Bae, who turned professional in 2004, was on the run from the start firing a birdie on the first hole. Bae shot five more birdies against a lone dropped shot before closing in with three foot putt for par at the 18th hole for the win.

?I was nervous when I got up this morning thinking about the final round. But my mother told me to picture how I felt during the first round and that put me in the right frame of mind,? said Bae.

Playing in his third SK Telecom Open, Bae was delighted to reach his goal of earning full playing rights on the Asian Tour as his win comes with a two-year exemption.

?I would like to join the Asian Tour because I want to gain more experience. I am pleased with my performance but I think that I can go even further,? added Bae.

Baddeley remained consistent on the final day when he fired four birdies as he enjoyed the week in Korea.

?I?m quite pleased with how I played today. I?ve enjoyed the week here. Bae was playing solid all four rounds and I didn?t capitalise on my shots but I tried my best and I?m happy to come in joint second place,? said Baddeley.

Kim, with 10 amateur wins on the local circuit, gave chase when he was three under after seven holes but slipped with a double bogey on the par four 14th hole before scoring two more birdies on the way home.

Australia Park was happy with his 69 riding on the good form he has been enjoying this season on the Asian Tour.

?I was consistent and have no complaints about this week. It was fun and I am satisfied as I have been on good form this year,? said Park, who rises to 15th place on the UBS Order of Merit.

Leading final round scores

271 - Bae Sang-moon (KOR) 64-69-71-67

277 - Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 71-67-71-68, Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) 65-71-72-69

279 - Choi Hyuk-jae (KOR) 71-65-73-70, Unho Park (AUS) 67-70-73-69, Kang Kyung-nam (KOR) 69-69-71-70, David Oh (USA) 70-68-70-71

281 - Jun Tae-hyun (KOR) 65-76-73-67, Young Nam (KOR) 69-69-73-70, Simon Yates (SCO) 68-72-69-72

282 - Park No-seok (KOR) 70-70-74-68, Mark Brown (NZL) 72-70-71-69, Park Boo-won (KOR) 73-67-71-71

283 - S.K. Ho (KOR) 71-68-74-70, Kang Wook-soon (KOR) 74-68-71-70, Kane Webber (AUS) 68-74-71-70, Bryan Saltus (USA) 70-69-73-71, Kim Kyung-tae (KOR) 69-72-70-72

284 - Woo Chang-wan (KOR) 73-70-73-68, Jung Ji-ho (KOR) 67-71-74-72

285 - Corey Harris (USA) 73-71-71-70, Choi Sang-ho (KOR) 67-73-75-70, Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 72-71-72-70, Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 73-70-71-71, Kim Hye-dong (KOR) 73-70-71-71, Kong Yong-joon (KOR) 70-69-74-72, Han Min-kyu (KOR) 72-68-72-73

Kang Sung-hoon (KOR) 66-68-77-74, Park Jun-won (KOR) 70-70-72-73