‘Hot player’ Ko Gun-taek (24) will attempt to match the record of four wins in a season set by Korean golf legend Choi Sang-ho (68).
Ko will look to win for the second straight week at the Korea Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour’s Bizplay Electronics Open ($700,000 purse), which begins Thursday at Yeongam Cosmos Links (par-72, 7407 yards) in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province. The main question will be whether he can continue the momentum from last week’s 39th Shinhan Donghae Open, co-hosted by the KPGA, Japan and Asian Tour, where he claimed his third win of the season in a playoff.
Ko, who joined the Korean Tour in 2020, has had a breakout year. He won the season-opening DB Insurance PromiOpen (April) for his first victory in four years, followed by two wins at the Honors K Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational (July), the final event of the first half of the year, and a third victory in a blitzkrieg of majors last week. It is the first time in five years that a player has won three titles in a season on the Korean Tour since Park Sang-hyun in 2018.
If Ko, the only other multiple winner this season, wins for the second straight week, he will tie Choi Sang-ho for the most wins in a season on the Korean Tour, having won four times (1985, 1986, 1991, 1992). “I’m honored to have won three times, but my goals have been raised,” said Ko, who is currently ranked first on the Genesis Grand Prize and second on the money list ($539.7 million). I will do my best to win four or more and the Genesis Grand Prize.”
The tournament will feature 11 of this season’s winners. Runner-up Lee Jae-kyung, reigning Korean Open champion Han Seung-soo (CAN), KPGA Championship winner Choi Seung-bin, and the “big hitters” Chung Chan-min, Kim Bi-o, and Cho Woo-young will be looking for their second multiple wins of the season.
Hangzhou Asian Games representative Cho Woo-young will make one last shot tune-up before heading into the final round. After winning the Golf Zone Open in April and finishing tied for 11th at the Shinhan Donghae Open last week, Cho leaves for China on May 25. Hangzhou’s Zhang Yubin, who 안전놀이터 won the Gunsan CC Open, will change his plans for his final outing this week to focus on recovering his body after withdrawing from last week’s tournament due to a bout of enteritis.
Meanwhile, professional golfer Lee Seung-min, who has an autism spectrum disorder, will make his debut on the tour. After making the cut at this year’s Golf Zone Open and KB Financial Live Championship, where he competed as an invitee, Lee is ranked 39th on the KPGA Order of Merit, earning himself a chance to play on the Korean Tour in the second half of the year.
“I am grateful to those who gave me many opportunities and supported me to participate in the tournament,” said Lee. <I feel like I’ve gone from being an intern lawyer to a full-time lawyer, just like in ‘Strange Lawyer Woo Young-woo’,” he said.