K.T. Kim again impresses Australian fans

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 Australian PGA Championship | Round Three | 26 Nov 2011

25 year old Korean golfer, Kim Kyung Tae, leads the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca Cola into the tournament’s final round, his third round of 67 moving him one shot clear of American invitee and yet another to have played in last week’s Presidents Cup, Bubba Watson.

Last week, in his debut at the Presidents Cup, Korean golfer Kim gave the Australian golfing public an indication of his prodigious golfing talent. Today, the impression he created in Melbourne has been further enhanced.

On a day when the PGA of Australia further celebrated its centenary by offering free entry to the Hyatt Regency Coolum layout, the large crowds who flocked to see some of the world’s best came away with the feeling that they might well have witnessed the emergence of a genuine world star.

The 25 year old Kim has already been a prolific winner of titles in Korea and Japan but following his impressive victory Four-ball victory with Y.E. Yang over Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson and his Singles victory over Webb Simpson in last week’s Presidents Cup he highlighted that his current standing of 24 in the world will soon be on the upward rise. Given the strength of this week’s field, that elevation might be just 24 hours away as a victory here will earn significant world ranking points.

Kim missed a good birdie opportunity at the first today but that was one of his few mistakes as he compiled a bogey free round to take a share of the lead when he birdied the 15th and the outright lead when Watson made a mess of the par five 15th.

Watson began brilliantly with an eagle at the very first hole after his drive of 320 metres was followed, believe it or not, by a 9 iron to the 495 metre par five.

Watson dropped a shot at the next but was quickly back into stride with birdies at the 4th and 5th holes. When he birdied the 12th he had the outright lead but then came the disastrous 15th when he laid up well short of the green, then missed it with his third and took two attempts to get on the green. Two putts later his double bogey had given Kim the lead by two.

Watson came back with a nice birdie at the 17th to close to gap to just one and then made a great par save at the last after hitting a spectator near the green.

For Kim his last minute decision to play the event is proving a wise one, at least to date. “I was supposed to take a week off this week back in Korea after the Presidents Cup," said Kim after his round.

“While I was heading over here I found out that there was going to be another tournament, I always thought there was just the Australian Open, so I found out about it, I rushed in last minute entry as you said, I think it has just added a lot more satisfaction into it because I was rushed in last minute decision. So far the past three days it has been a good decision don’t you think (laughing)?”

“My expectations coming into this week was quite low, because off the practice tee on Tuesday and then the Pro-Am on Wednesday sort of assessed that this wasn’t my type of course, it’s not my type of course that I favour and perform well.

“As I said I have over exceeded my expectations so far. The bigger part of it is you don’t really need to crush it off on the tee so for a guy like me it is more about accuracy, I think you need to be accurate.

“With the combination of playing in a not so favourable course and also with entering with low expectations and being rushed in I think so far I am very happy. I still have got a very long day tomorrow ahead, a very important day, but I am not feeling a lot of pressure right now, maybe it is because of the low expectation factor so let’s see.”

Watson was pleased to see his good friend Aaron Baddeley’s name appear near the top of the leaderboard and was asked how he felt about competing against him tomorrow. “Once you tee it up, golf is golf. We all have a drive, we all have to push trying to win golf tournaments. We’ve been having fun, my room is right next to Aaron Baddeley’s and Rickie Fowlers so all of our families have been hanging out all week, been goofing around, but obviously when we tee up it gets back to golf and gets the pressure going.

When asked how he might spend this evening. Watson responded. “I’ve got some friends in town that live in Sydney, just having a quite dinner and probably Badds and Fowler will be out with us and about fourteen of us will have dinner and go back to our rooms and that’s about it.”

So Kim leads by one over Watson but as is so often the case at Hyatt Regency Coolum there are still many chances heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Aaron Baddeley picked up two late birdies and he sits just three shots behind Kim in outright third position as he chases the third leg of Australian golf’s triple-crown. Baddeley has won two Australian Opens and the Australian Masters so if he was to add this title to those then he would join an elite group of Australian greats.

New South Welshman, David Bransdon, raced to the turn in 32 and when he added a birdie at the 10th he was within three of the lead. He held on to finish at 9 under and shares 4th position with Y.E. Yang and Marcus Fraser.

The final day at the Australian PGA Championship is often times a shootout and with eighteen players within six shots of the lead then tomorrow promises to be more of the same. A round of 64 by those out 90 minutes or so before the leaders could really put the cat amongst the pigeons.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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