Incheon, Korea: Canada’s Richard T. Lee completed his remarkable comeback from injuries by overcoming a two-shot deficit to win the Shinahan Donghae Open by one shot on Sunday.
Lee’s final round of five-under-par 66 was enough to see him lift his second Asian Tour title at the expense of Malaysia’s Gavin Green, who was left to settle for second place after he had started the day with the lead.
Lee’s career had appeared in a freefall with his Asian Tour card seemingly lost after he suffered from a dislocated shoulder and muscle spasm and was left without a win for three years.
But his resolve to win again saw him return to Korea early to practice where he played on the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club for at least six times before the tournament got underway.
Lee’s efforts were finally rewarded when he posted rounds of 68, 71, 68 and 66 to lift the Shinhan Donghae Open trophy with his winning total of 11-under-par 273.
Green meanwhile remained optimistic about his future despite having to wait longer for his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour.
The Malaysian had several chances to at least force a play-off with Lee coming down the stretch but spurred his chances by missing several costly putts.
Zimbabwean Scott Vincent, who finished tied-second last year, enjoyed another good outing when he signed off with a 68 to share third place with Younghan Song and Hyungseok Seo from Korea.
Did you know?
Richard T. Lee missed the cut at the Shinhan Donghae Open last year. Prior to his victory this week, he has only made the cut in four events out of 10 starts on the Asian Tour.
Lee’s father played on the PGA Tour and was roommate with K.J. Choi when they used to play together. His father introduced Lee to golf and still coaches him today.
Lee’s last win on the Asian Tour dated back to 2014 where he also won the event by one shot.
Despite not earning his breakthrough, Gavin Green has already secured three runner-up finishes in India, Chinese Taipei and Korea this year.
Like last year where he finished tied-second, Scott Vincent’s tied-third finish has allowed him to safely retain his Asian Tour card for 2018.
Richard T. Lee (Can) Fourth round 66 (-5), Total 273 (-11)
I’m going to remember this win for a very long time especially after coming off with injuries and working on my game from scratch again. So this win definitely means a lot. I started to feel right in my game after Fiji. I came back to Korea and played this course at least six times with Jeunghun Wang. I’m lucky to have a good player to practice with. I practiced really hard and I won this tournament. When I started the round today, I wanted to shoot six-under but I got the job done with five-under which was great.
Gavin Green (Mas), Fourth round 69 (-2), Total 274 (-10)
Richard played well and you cannot do anything about that. I admit there was a little bit of pressure especially coming down the stretch. I had my chances on 16, 17 and 18 but that’s golf. I also missed a lot of putts but I gave myself a chance, which is the most important. Second is not bad. If you had told me I’ll be in second at the start of the week, I would say yes anytime.
Scott Vincent (Zim) Fourth Round 68 (-3) Total 275 (-9)
It was a great week. I had a good finish and I cannot be too disappointed about that. I left myself with a lot of work to do after the first two days but overall I’m feeling really great about my game and I hope this will be the start of my good form as I’m going on a good run of events now.
David Lipsky (Usa) Fourth round 70 (-1), Total 280 (-4)
It has been a solid week. I enjoyed my time here. Winning the Order of Merit again is definitely on the back of my mind and I’m committed to playing more events on the Asian Tour from now. I’ve a good chance and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.
Leading Scores after round 4 of the The 33rd Shinhan Donghae Open being played at the par 71, 6953 Yards Bear's Best Cheongna GC course (am - denotes amateur):
273 - Richard T. LEE (CAN) 68-71-68-66.
274 - Gavin GREEN (MAS) 68-67-70-69.
275 - Younghan SONG (KOR) 67-69-72-67, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 69-73-65-68, Hyungseok SEO (KOR) 74-67-65-69.
276 - Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-71-69-68, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 70-67-69-70.
277 - Chan KIM (USA) 67-71-73-66, Sanghee LEE (KOR) 70-67-71-69.
278 - Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 68-73-68-69, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 65-69-73-71, Jarin TODD (USA) 68-69-69-72.
279 - Junsung KIM (KOR) 65-69-75-70, Seungtaek LEE (KOR) 67-67-72-73.
280 - David LIPSKY (USA) 71-71-68-70, Keith HORNE (RSA) 68-72-69-71.
281 - Taewoo KIM 1468 (KOR) 71-68-74-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71-73-67-70, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 74-70-67-70, Ben LEONG (MAS) 71-67-73-70, John Michael O'TOOLE (USA) 69-70-71-71, Eunshin PARK (KOR) 69-69-71-72.