Rising home star Ok Tae-hoon won for the first time in his professional career as he held his nerve to triumph in the $1.5 million International Series Korea on Sunday.
The event is part of the new International Series — which Sunday announced tournaments in Egypt and Morocco — that received $400 million from Saudi-backed LIV Golf and is sanctioned by the Asian Tour.
The 23-year-old Ok holed a clutch five-foot birdie putt on the last to beat his more famous compatriot Kim Bio by one stroke following a gripping battle at Lotte Skyhill Country Club on Jeju island.
Third was American Trevor Simsby, one stroke further back.
A tearful Ok dedicated the breakthrough victory to his father, who died when the golfer was just 10.
“This win is for my father,” he said.
“I asked my caddie on (hole) 17 if he really thought I can birdie 18 and he said, ‘Go for it,'” Ok said, after carding a three-under-par 68 for a tournament total of 15 under par.
“I have learned a lot by playing in the final pairings recently so that really helped.”
Another home golfer, Gang Yun-seok, was fourth, while India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar came fifth alongside South Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun.
Cho Woo-young, South Korea’s top amateur who fired a stunning 61 on day three, signed off with a 72 to tie for seventh.
The Asian Tour travels to Japan next for the Shinhan Donghae Open from September 8.
The tour separately said it had added two more tournaments — in Morocco and Egypt — to its International Series, both in November.
“LIV Golf’s investment in the Asian Tour through the International Series is already delivering new opportunities for golfers from all over the world,” said Greg Norman, the LIV Golf chief executive.
Norman and Saudi-funded LIV have sent shockwaves through world golf with vast purses that have presented a huge challenge to the established tours and threatened to divide the sport.
LIV has struck up a partnership with the Asian Tour but is in a high-stakes tussle with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.