History repeats as Korea take clean sweep
Korea swept the board at the Asian Games golf championship in China this weekend, winning all four golf medals, just as they did at the last Games in Doha four years ago.
In the men’s competition, Kim Meen-whee, who is currently ranked 147th in the world, led the way on a 15-under-par total of 273. The 18-year-old double-gold-medallist shot rounds of 69, 68, 67 and 69 around Guangzhou Province’s par-72 Dragon Lake Golf Club to claim victory by a remarkable nine strokes.
The Philippines’ Miguel Luis Tabuena, who had been the first-round leader, finished in second place, ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao. The strong Japanese challenge that was expected failed to materialise, with 2010 Asian Amateur Champion Hideki Matsuyama and reigning Junior Open Champion Kenta Konishi finishing in tied-14th and tied-19th place, respectively.
In the men’s team competition, where the best three from four scores counted, Korea were even more dominant, claiming victory by 32 shots from India on a 22-under-par total of 842. Chinese Taipei finished a solitary stroke behind India on a combined score of 11 over par.
In the women’s individual event, Kim Hyun-soo was as comfortable in winning her gold as was her namesake in the men’s event. Kim took the spoils by 10 shots on 11 under par from China’s Yan Jing and compatriot Kim Ji-hee, after signing for rounds of 70, 70, 65 and 72. The third member of Korea’s team, Han Jung-eun, finished a further two strokes back.
The Korean trio, who won the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina in October, secured another major triumph with victory in the team competition. China finished in second place, 11 strokes behind on five under, while Chinese Taipei took third on a nine-over-par total of 585.
This year, 113 golfers – 78 men from 20 National Olympic Councils and 32 women from 11 National Olympic Councils – took part in the golf event, an Asian Games record. Individual golds were determined by four rounds of stroke play and team golds were decided by cumulative scores. In the men’s event, the best three of four stroke-play scores counted towards the team score, while in the women’s event, the best two from three contributed.
"The Asian Games is the pinnacle for elite amateur golf in Asia and showcases the most talented golfers from across the region. It also provides an important platform for the development of the sport with countries such as Afghanistan competing in an international golf tournament for the first time,” explained The R&A’s Director – Asia/Pacific, Dominic Wall, who, as the Technical Delegate, was instrumental in the planning of the golf event over the past two years.
Tickets to watch golf at the Asian Games sold out, meaning that between three and five thousand spectators per day made their way to Dragon Lake to watch Korea succeed in spectacular fashion.