STA. ROSA, Laguna – Kim Joo Hyung outdueled Keanu Jahns in another nerve-wracking finish at The Country Club Invitational, birdying No. 16 from four feet to claim a historic one-stroke victory on Friday.
Tied with Jahns at one-over overall with three holes left, Kim came through with two big shots on the difficult par-4 16th – a solid drive and a superb approach shot – then made birdie from close range after Jahns muffed his par putt from six feet.
Not even a closing bogey on the tough 18th could spoil Kim’s party in the premier event also known as the Razon Cup as the young Korean finished with a 74 for a 72-hole total of a two-over 290 worth P1.5 million.
Not only did he keep the crown snatched by compatriot Micah Shin from 2017 winner and absentee Miguel Tabuena last year, but he also emerged as the youngest winner of the TCC Invitational at 16, nine months after a breakthrough win at Pueblo de Oro last July.
He also set aside personal woes in the last 18 holes that further underscored his maturity and poise.
“It’s quite hurting and disturbing upon learning that my grandma has been diagnosed with cancer. But I set aside that (bad news) since I didn’t want it to affect my game,” said Kim. “I wanted to win so I kept playing till the end. I’m happy I made it.”
It was a sorry setback for the 22-year-old Jahns, who gallantly fought back from four down after 54 holes with that birdie splurge at the back to get a clear shot at the crown. He closed out with a second straight 71 for second at 291, still his best finish in six years worth P700,000.
“I need to toughen up more and more practice and sacrifice,” said Jahns.
Clyde Mondilla, the new Philippine Open winner who also pounced on a late two-shot swing to regain a share of the lead with Kim in the third round, finished with a 76 and ended up third at 292 worth P500,000.
“Let’s it give to him (Kim). He deserved it,” said Mondilla, who stayed level with Kim after 10 holes but reeled back with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13
Angelo Que failed to get going and finished with a 75 for fourth at 297 and fellow three-time winner Juvic Pagunsan wound up fifth at 302 after a second 76
Dutch Guido Van der Valk also stumbled with a 76 for sixth at 303, Peter Stojanovski of Macedonia shot a 76 for joint seventh with Justin Quiban, who skied to a 77, at seventh at 305, while Jhonnel Ababa carded a 74 for joint 10th with Shin, who hobbled with a 78, at 306.