KB Financial shows ‘come-from-behind’ again, Kim Dong-min overcomes 5-stroke deficit with 18th hole eagle

The fourth round of the final day of the Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s KB Financial Reeve Championship (total prize money of 700 million won) at Blackstone Icheon Golf Club (Par 72) in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, on Monday. Fourth-year tour player Kim Dong-min (25) shot a 5-under 67 on the final day for a final total of 8-under 280, overcoming a five-stroke deficit to win his first career title in a thrilling upset.

The previous four winners of the event, which was first held in 2018, all came from behind on the final day to take home the trophy. It would be interesting to see if the tradition would continue this year.

Entering the final day in a tie for 10th place, five strokes behind the leader, Dong-min Kim looked set to pull off another upset with four birdies in the first half of the day.

He bogeyed the 10th (par-4) and birdied the 15th (par-5) to briefly share the lead, but missed a par putt on the 17th (par-4) and went into the final 18th (par-5) one stroke behind.

He needed a birdie to force a playoff, and he did so with his second shot. With about 232 yards to go, he aimed for on-green with his second shot, and his accurate flight landed on the green and stopped six meters short of the hole. After carefully assessing the slope of the green, Kim calmly rolled the ball and pumped his fist in celebration as it sank into the hole. After sinking his eagle putt into the hole, Kim was two strokes down and finished with a one-stroke lead.

As it was a one-stroke match, the 메이저놀이터 players behind him kept their nerves on edge until the end, and as no one else dropped any more strokes, Kim enjoyed the thrill of a five-stroke comeback to win his first title.

Kim, who started playing on the Korean Tour in 2020, hadn’t tasted victory until last year. He finished 48th on the money list in 2020, 33rd in 2021, and 37th in 2022.

This year’s season started off with a bang. Following a fourth-place finish at the DB Insurance Promi Open to open the season, he finished runner-up to amateur Jo Woo-young at the Golf Zone Open in Jeju. Since the tournament was won by an amateur, the winner’s prize money went to Kim Dong-min.

After failing to compete at the GS Caltex Mae Kyung Open, Woori Financial Championship and SK Telecom Open, Kim continued his tradition of upset victories.

“When I missed the par putt on the 17th hole, I thought, ‘Can I win the championship,’ and I promised myself to do it confidently without regret on the last hole,” said Kim. “The eagle putt was about 6 meters, but after carefully looking at the slope, I putted the ball without thinking about it and it connected to the eagle,” he recalled the moment of reversal.

“My goal this year was to win,” he said, “and I will continue to work hard to win two more tournaments, and I want to win the Genesis Grand Prize.”

With the victory, Kim Dong-min moved to the top of the Genesis points standings, and with the win, he added 14 million won to his season prize fund to move into second place (338 million won).

Lee Jung-hwan and Lee Seung-taek tied for second at 6-under 282, two strokes behind the leader, while Kim Min-gyu, who entered the final day with a one-stroke lead, dropped four shots on the day and settled for a tie for sixth at 4-under 284.