Lee Jae-gyeong (24),안전놀이터 a former national team member who won two wins on the Korean Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour, said, “Approach Ips has been going on for the past eight years.” He confessed that his short game was like an amateur, to the extent that he often picked up the putter because he was not confident about hitting wedge shots near the green.
Lee Jae-kyung hit 4 under par 68 with 5 birdies and 1 bogey in the 1st round of the KPGA Korean Tour KB Financial Live Championship (total prize money of 700 million won) held at Blackstone GC (par 72, 7270 yards) in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province on the 25th. Lee Tae-hoon (Canada) After finishing in a joint lead with Kim Min-soo, “Today’s short game went well. Since the approach was good, I played with the confidence that I could keep the par even if the whole green did not go well.”
Lee Jae-kyung, who started from hole 10 in the morning, finished all 9 holes in the first half with pars, caught his first birdie in hole 1 (par 5) in the second half, and made a long 10m birdie putt in hole 3 (par 3), rising on the rise. He bogeyed around the bunker from his tee shot on the 5th hole, but cut 1 stroke on the 6th hole (par 4) and finished with a good feeling by catching consecutive birdies on the 8th hole (par 4) and 9th hole (par 5).
What is most welcome is that the intensive short game training last winter paid off. Lee Jae-kyung said in an interview after the match, “I am very satisfied with the 4 under par score. “The highest score I’ve ever hit at Blackstone,” he said. He missed the cut with 80 strokes for two consecutive days in 2019 and withdrew after 79 strokes in the first round of 2021, the record he left at Blackstone. Last year, he did not participate at all because he was not confident.
After winning the Busan Gyeongnam Open in 2019, the first year of his debut, and winning the rookie of the year, he seemed to be on the road to success by conquering the Genesis Championship in 2021, but he secretly suffered from fear of approach shots. Last year, when he lost confidence, he was sluggish enough to pass the cut in only 7 out of 15 tournaments.
Last winter, he visited and learned from a professional short game coach and left the US training camp together to harden himself. . His confidence has grown even more as the fruits of that have recently appeared in the top 10 in three consecutive tournaments (tied for 4th at the Maekyung Open, tied for 7th at the Woori Financial Championship and SK Telecom Open).
Even the key players who started in the second half could not surpass Lee Jae-gyeong, the leader of the morning group. Seo Yo-seop shot a 3-under-par 69 with 6 birdies and 3 bogeys to tie for 4th place with Kim Jae-ho and others. Baek Seok-hyun, who was trying to win for two weeks in a row, hit a 3-over-par 75 with 1 birdie and 4 bogies to start in the top 60. Jeong Chan-min, the winner of last month’s GS Caltex Maekyung Open, boasted a powerful long hit of up to 370 yards and caught 5 birdies, but added 2 bogeys and 1 double bogey to reduce one stroke. Defending champion Yang Ji-ho lost two strokes and started in the top 40.