Wi defends SK Open
BY Bruce Young | Asian Tour | 2002 SK Telecom Open | Wrap | 29 Apr 2002
It was a week for American-Koreans with Charlie Wi winning and 18 year old Kevin Na joint runner up with Australian Kim Felton.
Wi who attended the University of Berkeley in California where he secured a degree in child psycology before turning pro in 1995 has really come of age over the last eighteen months. He was defending this championship this week following his 2001 year where he won three times and just missed out on the number one spot on the money list to Tongchai Jaidee.
It was a battle though for Wi who had to hold off challenges from both Na and Felton over the closing round. Na, who was playing on invitation after missing his Asian Tour card at the tour school this year, made the decision to turn pro following his high school years in the US. Although sought by many colleges, as a result of his outstanding amateur career, he has decided to give the professional game a go and it looks like a wise decision. As was the case with so many succesful Korean players, more especially the ladies, Na moved to the US with his family at the age of eight and won many prestigious junior golfing titles.
For Kim Felton, who promised so much in his amateur days, but has yet to deliver, this will be a significant boost. Not only will the $US32,000 be handy but so will the confidence that a last round 67 to finish second brings. He has been second now three times in Asia and it appears that he is slowly but surely finding his feet in the pro ranks after an amateur career that included the Australian Amateur title.
David Gleeson too, had a fine finish for fifth his equal best finish in tournament golf and likely his biggest cheque ($US12,000). Like Felton he is another Australian Amateur champion (1996) who has yet to fulfill expectations as a professional but the signs, of late, are there.
Brad Kennedy was 32nd and Australian based Korean Unho Park was 65th. 14-year-old New Zealand based Korean Jae Ahn, an invite, missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 76.
The Asian Tour stays in Korea for this week’s Maekyung Open.