South Korea in charge as Bio Kim, Taehoon Ok lead in Jeju and women dominate Simone Asia Pacific Cup
- Kim and Ok top of leader board after 2nd round at Asian Tour’s International Series Korea, while Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho makes cut
- 4 South Koreans among top 6 in Ladies Asian Tour event in Jakarta as they also head the team standings, but Philippines’ Princess Mary Superal leads
South Koreans Bio Kim and Taehoon Ok shot blistering second-round scores of 63 and 64 respectively on Friday to take the lead at the US$1.5million International Series Korea.
They moved to 10 under for the Asian Tour event at Lotte Skyhill Country Club on Jeju Island.
Their compatriot Hanbyeol Kim fired a 66 and was two shots back, while another South Korean, Yoseop Seo, returned the same score and was one stroke further adrift.
Bio made nine birdies and dropped just one shot in his eight-under-par round to put himself in position to win his second Asian Tour event, having been triumphant in the GS Caltex Maekyung Open, also in Korea, in May.
Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho avoided missing the cut, thanks to a five-under-par 66. The 21-year-old struggled early on, slumping to three over, below the expected cut-off of par, but six birdies thereafter left him on three under overall.
Starting on the back nine, Bio quickly found his range with birdies on 11, 13, 15 and 16 before making a bogey on 18. That hiccup only prompted him to pick up the pace and he made birdies on one, two, four, six and seven.
“My tee shot was a lot better and also my iron game, and obviously I made putts and at the end of the day I made nine birdies,” the 31-year-old said.
Ok is looking to win for the first time as a professional and made eight birdies and a solitary bogey.
“I struggled a bit on the second half but hung in there,” he said. “I really want to win on the Asian Tour and take my game forward and help my dream of getting onto the PGA Tour. I’m not good enough yet. Plan is to make a success in Korea first and really challenge myself.”
He came close to winning the Kolon Korea Open this year and was tied for the lead after the third round but carded a disappointing 75 on the final day to finish joint sixth.
Meanwhile, Philippines golfer Princess Mary Superal outshone her more illustrious rivals to snatch a surprise one-shot lead after the penultimate stage of the Simone Asia Pacific Cup in Jakarta.
The 25-year-old, who started the day one shot off the pace, carded a one-under-par 71 after making two birdies to offset a bogey to reach the 36-hole mark on a seven-under 137, giving her a slender advantage over New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.
The world No 4 battled to an even-par 72 following a roller-coaster day at the Pondok Indah Golf Course which saw her mix three birdies with as many bogeys.
Bomee Lee of South Korea also shot a 72 to sit a further stroke back on 139, while compatriots So Yeon Ryu and Hyo Joo Kim were tied for fourth on matching 140s after going through contrasting fortunes.
While Kim fought back gallantly with a sparkling 68, Ryu stumbled to a 75 after marking her scorecard with five birdies, two bogeys and three double bogeys.
Rookie professional Youmin Hwang signed for a solid 70 for 141 to make it four South Koreans to feature inside the top six on the individual leader board.
There were 72s apiece for Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan and Ginnie Ding, leaving Chan eight shots off the lead on 145 and Ding five shots further adrift.
South Korea also ruled the team standings, with Team Korea 2, featuring Lee and Ryu, in first place on nine-under overall, two shots ahead of Kim and Hwang of Team Korea 1.