Date: May 20, 2013

Grant Report – Fog hands Griffin victory in Korea

Melbourne’s Matthew Griffin is bounding up the world rankings after yet another big win in in Asia.

The 29-year-old clinched his second OneAsia Tour title in less than a year on Sunday when a combination of his fine putting and poor weather allowed him to walk off with the $900,000 SK Telecom Open.

The final round of the tournament at the Pinx Golf Club on Korea’s Jeju Island was abandoned when thick fog descended on the course and made play impossible.

The previous day, though, Griffin had holed a 14 metre putt from the back of the 18th green, which gave him a one-shot lead over Korean veteran Kang Wook-soon at the end of three rounds.

As it turned out, it was the shot that sealed the title for the Victorian.

Oddly, the evnt ended in similar circumstances in 2011 when another Australian, Kurt Barnes, was declared the winner after fog prevented any play in the final round.

Built on a plateaux, Pinx Golf Club is prone to rolling fog from the extinct Mount Halla volcano, but the weather had been perfect for two rounds — albeit damp and windy for the third.

"It’s unfortunate to finish like this, but I’ll take it," said Griffin, who banked $180,000 for the win and leapt to the top of the OneAsia Order of Merit with earnings of over $233,000 for the season.

"I thought my final putt yesterday was big as it gave me the lead, but I didn’t think it would be the winning putt. It just goes to show you really must try and make everything."

Griffin fired rounds of 64, 67 and 72 for a 13-under par total of 203 around the 6,732 metre course.

Last September Griffin collected the OneAsia Charity High1 Resort Open, also in Korea.

"High1 was fantastic but this feels even better," said Griffin. "I never really played well in Korea in the past – which is surprising because I think the courses suit me – but it looks like I’ve found my way here now."

Griffin began the third round with an untidy bogey-bogey start but chipped in for an eagle at the par-five ninth to cancel out his early deficit.

He admitted that last year’s win had been crucial in giving his game a serious psychological boost.

"Definitely I feel like a different player now," he said. "It helps that you know you can do it, you know you can win."

Griffin had a premonition than his impressive long putt at the 18th on Saturday could prove vital.

"That was huge … that could be the difference at the end of the tournament," he said after the round.

Griffin, now a member of the Korean Tour, will stay to play next week’s Happiness Kwangju Bank Open before heading to the United States in a bid to qualify for the US Open.

OneAsia takes a break until August 29 when the tour returns to Korea and Griffin will defend his title at the Charity High1 Resort Open.

By: Robert Grant