Australia’s Junseok Lee wins Korea Open

Australia’s Junseok Lee has secured his first Korean PGA Tour victory at the prestigious Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Cheonan, South Korea.

The 33-year-old stood tied for the lead alongside playing partners, Park Eun-shin and Kim Joo-hyung, as the trio headed to the 18th tee.

Kim, who won the SK Telecom Open just a fortnight ago, quickly ruled himself out with his drive heading out of bounds while Park and Lee managed to get onto the green at the par-5 18th for a shot at birdie.

Park was first to putt but went wide with his birdie chance before Korean-born Lee found the bottom of the hole to win by a shot at 8-under following a final round of 71.

“It feels great to win after a long hiatus,” said Lee. “I really believed that the last putt would go in.”

Junseok Lee Junseok Lee (Credit: Korean PGA Tour)

Lee, who moved to Australia at the age of 15 with his parents but only become an Australian citizen in 2014, has come close to victory on the Korean Tour before including a tie for second at both the 2020 GS Caltex Maekyung Open and 2018 KJ Choi Invitational along with an outright second placing on the now-defunct One Asia Tour in 2014 and a win on the China Tour in 2012.

Lee takes home ₩400,000,000 (AUD$468,000) for his win in what is the Korean PGA Tour’s richest tournament and says he will use the money to pay off a few debts.

“I still can’t believe it, so I’ll think about it when it gets into my bank account. I hope I can pay off my debts and invest well so that I can enjoy the tour more comfortably.”

In previous years, the top two placings at the Korea Open also earned a start at the Open Championship. However, with the cancellation of both the Korea Open and Open Championship in 2020, it was decided that the winning players from 2019 would get their chance at a start at this year’s Open.

Wonjoon Lee was the only other Australian in the field and missed the cut with rounds of 80 and 74.