15-year-old leads TOC winners E-mail
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Monday, 03 August 2015 17:05

By Mark Rabago | Saipan Tribune

With a little help from Lady Luck, a 15-year-old student from Saipan International School won the Championship Flight of the 2015 Tournament of Champions even as Mother Nature battered the more than 200 golfers that braved Typhoon Soudelor’s onslaught yesterday at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.

Jun Seok Kim trailed eventual runner-up Seung San Choi by three strokes before the 18th hole, but Choi double-bogeyed the final hole to hand the Championship Flight trophy in a silver platter to Kim.

“I was actually losing before [the final hole]. I was three strokes down but he double-bogeyed in the last hole. He made a mistake. So I was also very lucky and I also played hard,” he said in an interview following the awards banquet of the 20th edition of the Marianas’ biggest golfing event.

Kim finished with a 7-over 151 in the two-day tournament after submitting a 5-over 77 last Saturday and a 2-over 74 yesterday. He climbed back from third place in Day 1 to win the premier flight of the TOC.

Curiously, the Navy Hill resident had a better showing in Day 2 of the tournament when Soudelor’s typhoon condition 1 winds turned Laolao Bay into a virtual carwash compared to Day 1 when the weather was perfect for playing golf.

Kim said before the rain poured he actually was “catching birdies” that allowed him to put himself in contention and eventually capitalized on Choi’s major blunder in the final hole.

By his own account, he said he probably had three birdies and 13 pars in the final round of the 2015 TOC.

Asked about the less-than-ideal conditions in the second day of the tournament, Kim said he just soldiered on like the rest of the field and was lucky that he come out as the winner of the Championship Flight.

“To be honest with you the playing conditions were very tough. It was really the toughest TOC I played and it was my third time playing in the tournament,” said Kim, who is being instructed by former TOC Championship Flight winner Jun Park.

Choi finished two strokes off Kim’s pace with a two-round total of 153, built on a 78 in the first day and a 75 in the second day.

First day leader Daryl A. Poe of Guam came in third with his 155. He fired a promising 74 last Sunday before limping back into the clubhouse with an 81 on Sunday.

Favored local bet J.J. Atalig (156, 83-73) and former TOC winner Seung Woo Kang (156, 79-77) finished tied but the former beat the latter in a scorecard tiebreak to take fourth place.

In the A Flight, 11-year-old Dong Young “Edward” Lee surprised everyone by winning the division with a 164 (84-80).

Peter Tenorio came in second with a 166 (83-83), just two strokes behind Lee. When someone in the crowd shouted that the Joeten scion promote himself to Championship Flight, Tenorio gamely answered, “I just got beaten by a sixth grader!”

Yong Woon Choi completed the Top 3 with his 167 (89-78). Takao Urasawa actually finished tied with Choi with his similar 167 (84-83) but lost out via scorecard tiebreak.

The Top 5 of the A Flight was completed by Eui-Suk Ko, who came away with a 168 (85-83).

The results of the B Flight, C Flight, Women’s Flight, Women’s Low Net, Senior Flight, and Super Seniors Flight will be reported throughout the week by the Saipan Tribune.


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