Once again, a rules gaffe is at the forefront of a golf tournament. In this, a rare instance, it actually decided the champion of the Kolon Korea Open on the OneAsia Tour.
Hyung-tae Kim arrived on the tee of the 71st hole at Woo Jeong Hills C.C., two clear of the field and with little in his way to the $280,000 first-place check.
Then a Korea Golf Association official approached Kim and playing partner, Soon-sang Hong, on the penultimate tee, telling them they were both to be penalized two shots for grounding their club in a hazard on the 13th hole, a violation of Rule 13-4. Pars had become double-bogey 6s. The lead evaporated for Kim, who dropped another shot at the 17th to shoot 77.
However, before signing his card that would give the win to Sung-hoon Kang, Kim revisited the 13th hole with Korea Golf Association officials and discussed the incident for almost two hours, according to a Tour report. Ultimately, an eight-person committee ruled against Kim's insistence that he did not ground his club, voting 5-3 that the two-shot penalty should stand.
Kim wound up a shot behind Kang and in second place along with four other players, including Rory McIlroy, whose final-round 67 left him frustrated.
"I could have shot anything, absolutely anything," he said. "I only missed two greens and had so many chances, but it was like the story of yesterday -- I just didn't hole enough putts."