Kim Dong-min, 25, who won his first title in four years on the Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s KB Financial Live Championship at Blackstone Golf Club (Par 72) in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday, suffered from a severe case of “OB” until last year.
Any ball he teed off with his driver would fly into the OB zone. Two OB shots per round was standard.
In the three years since his rookie year, he has missed more cuts than he has made.
His driver swing wasn’t that bad to begin with, but he realized that trying to hit it too straight as a first-time pro on the China PGA Tour had become a poison.
Realizing that he would struggle to maintain his seeding if he didn’t fix his driver’s “OB disease,” it’s no wonder that Kim became obsessed with hitting his driver shots straight.
He sought out lesson pros to teach him how to swing, but it didn’t work.
His method of choice was to “fake it until you make it.
When he went to the range, he focused on driver shots, even leaving his other clubs behind.
He would hit 100 to 200 driver shots a day.
When I was at my worst, my driver score was 10 or 20, but I improved to around 70.
His hard work began to pay off at the Hyundai Marine Choi Kyung Joo Invitational last October.
A tie for seventh gave him his first top-10 finish in 18 events on the season.
He followed that up with a tie for 18th at the Genesis Championship, the highest-paying event of the season, and a second-place finish at the Golf Zone Torrey Open to secure his seeding for the following year.
After finishing the season in a tie for sixth at the season-ending LG Signature Players Championship, he had five top-10 finishes in six events this year, 먹튀검증 including two second-place finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the season-opening DB Insurance Promi Open and a runner-up finish at the Golf Zone Open.
In his runner-up finish at the Golf Zone Open, he was fortunate to take home the winner’s share of the 140 million won prize as the winner, Cho Woo-young, was an amateur.
“As I practiced more and more, my driver shot changed to a fade, reducing my fatal OBs, and my tournament performance improved,” said Kim.
His final round eagle on the 18th hole (par-5) was also fueled by a well-timed driver tee shot.
After his 302-yard tee shot landed in the middle of the fairway, Kim said, “I knew I had to go two-under to win or extend.”
He birdied the 15th to take a share of the lead, then missed the green on the 17th and missed a 1.5-meter par putt to drop to second by one stroke. “I looked at the scoreboard and knew I was one up,” he said.
The pin was behind the green, so instead of taking the safe option of dropping a 2-iron to the front of the green for birdie with two putts, he opted for a 3-wood for eagle, which gave him a nice 5-meter eagle opportunity.
“My body reacted first,” said Kim, who had an unusually loud ceremonial fist pump after sinking the eagle putt.
The eagle was even more exhilarating for Kim, who had just made a double bogey on the 18th hole with a driver tee shot in the third round.
“I didn’t expect to win,” said Kim, who started the final round in a five-shot tie for 10th place. “I thought I had a chance to win because I cut a lot of strokes in the first half. I played hard and this is the result,” he said.
“I thought I could win many times if I could hit my driver well,” said Kim, who is a very accurate iron player and a good putter. “I used to have doubts about whether I could win even when I was hitting my driver,” he said. “Now that I’ve won my first title, I want to win one more before the year ends.
For Kim, winning the Genesis Grand Prix was one of his goals this year.
With this win, he is now the top Genesis Grand Prix points leader.
“My dream is to make it to the PGA Tour,” he said, adding, “I’m also thinking about taking the PGA Confederation Tour Qualifying School in the fall.”
Kim, who will compete in the Descente Korea Match Play Championship on the first of next month, said, “I played in a match play tournament once, but I tasted the bitter taste of being eliminated in the first round. I want to show a different side this time,” he said.