Kim Hong-taek and Woo-hyun Kim advance to the main draw of the Kolon Korea Open with 1-2 finishes

Long-hitting Kim Hong-taek (30-Volvik) punched his ticket to the 65th Korea Open.

Kim topped the leaderboard with a two-round total of 9-under-par 133 in qualifying at Woojung Hills Country Club (Par 71, 7328 yards) on Wednesday. After shooting 1-under par on the first day of the two-day qualifying event on Dec. 12, the South Korean shaved eight strokes off his score in the second round with nine birdies and one bogey. Kim Woo-hyun also enters the Korean Open as the second-best qualifier (7-under-par) after a 5-under 66.

A total of 126 players participated in the final qualifying round, including those who passed the four first rounds on May 30, and the rankings were compiled by back-counting. Five players, including Park Hyung-wook, shot a two-day total of 6-under par, and 15 players, including 2017 tournament runner-up Kim Ki-hwan, who shot 1-under par, qualified with a final total of 3-under par 139.

The Korea Golf Association (KGA) and Asian Tour co-organize the 65th edition of South Korea’s national title, the Kolon Korea Open, with a total prize fund of 1.4 billion won, up 50 million won from last year. The increased prize money is focused on the champion, with the winner taking home 500 million won.

The Korea Open continues the tradition of honoring champions with the best tournament in Korea every year. In 2017, the 60th edition, two tickets to the world’s oldest major, The Open, were presented to the winner and runner-up. In 2021, the prize money was raised to 200 million won. In addition, the tournament boasts the largest champion’s prize among Korean men’s and women’s golf tournaments with five years’ entry into the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour.

The repeated increase in the prize money since last year is in line with the idea that the winner should receive the highest honor in line with the prestige of the tournament, which is open to amateur players. This provides positive motivation for the players, draws galleries to the field for dramatic championship battles, and maximizes the excitement of every shot in the game of golf.

With the prize pool set high, each of the last five editions of the competition has been exciting to watch as a champion was crowned. In 2017, Jang Yi-geun and Kim Ki-hwan battled it out in a thrilling three-hole playoff. In 2018, qualifier Choi Min-cheol won, and in 2019 and 2021, Thai phenom Jane Wattananond and Australian compatriot Lee Jun-seok won by one stroke.

Last year, a three-hole overtime playoff between Kim Min-kyu and Cho Min-kyu captured the emotion of the final day and the excitement of the game of golf. Notably, Kim was the youngest player to qualify for the 2017 Korean Open.

The biggest prize money in the country is in line with the status of the National Title Tournament, which provides a spot in the D-Open. It also encourages and promotes fierce competition to win the title, greatly increasing the interest of the general public in golf competitions. The tournament also reflects the recent trend of LIV Golf and the U.S. Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, which have drastically reduced the number of players on the world tours, to focus on astronomical prize money.

Since its inception in 1958, the Kolon Korea Open has steadily evolved into the flagship event of men’s golf. After introducing a two-round qualifying system in 2014, the total prize pool was raised to 1.2 billion won. For the 63rd edition of the tournament in 2021, held after COVID-19, the total prize fund was increased by 100 million won to 1.3 billion won and the championship prize to 400 million won. Last year, the tournament was held with a total prize pool of 1.35 billion won and a first-place prize of 4.5 billion won 메이저놀이터.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the tournament at Woojung Hills CC. Woojung Hills has grown to become Korea’s signature tournament course setting each year to test the nuances of developing players. This year, the course will be especially free of COVID-19, opening its Korean Open Memorial Hall to visiting galleries and hosting family-friendly events.

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