Jeong turns his golfing life around
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2013 The Perth International | Wrap | 20 Oct 2013
2010 British Amateur Champion Jin Jeong overcame a shaky start to his final round at the ISPS Handa Perth International to not only win the most significant event in his professional career to date but in doing so he has also provided himself with security of tenure of the world’s second most lucrative tour for the next two years.
The victory gives Jeong access to the European Tour and having already shown a capacity to handle the vagaries on British golf with his victory at Muirfied in 2010, this could well be the start of a very bright future for the 23 year old Melbourne based South Korean.
Jeong has struggled to secure status to play on a tour since his British Amateur win but he has accumulated a lot of experience in that time both good and bad including starts at the Open Championship and the Masters, and with this victory behind him, he has the chance to call on that experience as he looks ahead to what promises to be the future that many were predicting earlier.
Jeong has played mainly in Asian and OneAsia Tour events over the past two years but heading into this week he sat outside the top 1060 in world ranking. His victory today will sweep him inside the top 350 but importantly it opens the door for so much more by gaining access to Europe.
Jeong began the day in a share of second position and just one behind the overnight leader Brody Ninyette. For both this would be a crucial day in their golfing careers and for so long it appeared as if the fairytale that was the possibility of a Nineytte victory might just become a reality.
Ninyette is a West Australian from Busselton south of Perth and although these were giddy heights he appeared to be handling the lead with the maturity of someone considerably more experienced.
Three under for the day through 11 holes he was still in charge but a missed putt at the 13th led to further dropped shots at the 15th and 18th. There would be disappointment for Ninyette as he too was on the brink of joining the European Tour for much of the day. It was not to be but he will secure a cheque for A$110,000 considerably more than he has won previously and likely more than he has won in his career to date.
While Ninyette was losing his grip on the event, Jeong and one of the pre tournament favourites, Ross Fisher, were putting together strong finishes. Jeong four putted the very first hole of the day but somehow found the constitution to add five birdies and no further dropped shots to join Fisher in the lead at 10 under and the pair headed back to the 18th for the first of the playoff holes.
Jeong found the green with his approach and two putted for par while Fisher was long and when he missed his par saving putt the stage was left to Jeong to finish it off.
Jeong has been in Melbourne for several years now as he has attempted to ply his trade wherever he could. He played pennant golf for Waverley Golf Club before winning the British Amateur in 2010 which he followed soon after with an impressive showing at the Open Championship at St Andrews where he finished 15th.
Clearly he is a much better player than his results have shown to date in his pro career but he has now, with the security of a European Tour card, the opportunity to show his true abilities.
Fisher has been in great form of late, this being his 4th top ten in his last five starts. After playing several events in the US earlier in the season he is now inside the top 60 on the money list and appears likely to play the Dubai Championship. It has been a good bounce-back from a slow start to 2013, having played poorly in the US. A decision to return to Europe has paid dividends.
Ninyette tied for 3rd with England’s Danny Willett and rookie NSW Central Coast professional Dimitrios Papadatos who only turned professional earlier this year.
The PGA Tour of Australasia now has two weeks off before the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.
The European Tour is in Shanghai this week for the BMW Masters, the first of four events in their final series.