The Korea Open finished in bizarre circumstances on Sunday with Kang Sung-hoon celebrating a one-shot victory after a controversial penalty for Kim Hyung-tae and poor putting by Rory McIlroy ended their title hopes.
Overnight leader Kim was on course for victory standing on the 17th tee but was told by an official he had been penalised two strokes for grounding a club in an area deemed to be a hazard on the 13th hole. The South Korean then bogeyed the 17th and could only par the 18th to miss out on the OneAsia title.
Kim then decided to go back to the scene of the crime on the 13th and argued for two hours that he had not grounded his club before finally accepting his penalty and signing his card for a six-over-par 77.
That left Kang Sung-hoon,who carded a final round 69,to bag the title as Kim finished tied second on three-under with McIlroy and South Korean trio of Lee Sang-hee,Mo Joong-kyung and amateur Lee Chang-woo.
Kang felt terrible for Kim. Im a really good friend of his so at the moment it doesnt feel great. Even though I won the tournament,I just feel really sorry for him, he said. I was actually out there to celebrate for him,but… I dont know… I dont know what to say. Its horrible.
Former world number one McIlroy only had himself to blame for not ending his title drought on the demanding Woo Jeong Hills Country Club course,near Cheonan,south of Seoul.
Problems on the Greem
Starting the day 10 strokes back,McIlroy put on a masterclass tee-to-green but endured another difficult day on the greens as he signed for a four-under-par 67. I could have shot anything,absolutely anything. I only missed two greens and had so many chances,but it was like the story of yesterday I just didnt hole enough putts, he said.
I created so many more chances today that it could have been 61,62. It just wasnt to be. I didnt birdie any of the par fives which was disappointing. It was tough. I felt like it could have been so much lower the last couple of days.