Date: September 10, 2012

Grant Report – Gold for Griffin

Melbourne pro Matthew Griffin has clinched the biggest win of his professional career with his nerveless one-shot win in the Charity High1 Resort Open in Korea’s Gangwon-do province.

The 29-year-old led by two overnight but kept his composure in a topsy-turvy final round for an even-par 72 that gave him a nine-under total of 279 and a $US178,000 winner’s cheque.

Local hopes Kang Kyung-nam (68) and Park Sang-Hyun (71) pushed Griffin all the way around the hilly 6,542 metre course, which at 1,137 metres is the highest golf course in Korea.

Kim Bi-o, winner of two events on the OneAsia circuit already this year, was a shot further back. His hopes of an unprecedented third OneAsia title on home soil came unstuck with two wayward shots on the par-five 13th, although he salvaged bogey with a breathtaking 60-foot putt.

"I am really, really thrilled," Griffin said after his victory. "This is what I have worked for all my life, so it is absolutely amazing to finally get there."

Griffin, once ranked the third-best amateur in the world, was a relative latecomer to the professional ranks and only scored his first four-round victory at the South Pacific Open in New Caledonia last year.

The win here propels him up the OneAsia Order of Merit and gives him a two-year exemption, but equally gives him a confidence boost to tackle Q-School on the US PGA Tour at the end of the year.

"This is immense," said Griffin, a natural left-hander who plays golf right-handed. "It gives me a lot of security and it also repays the faith that my supporters and sponsors have shown in me over the years."

He dedicated his victory to Peter Beck, a friend and mentor who caddied for him occasionally in his amateur and professional days, and who died in 2010.

Park, meanwhile, was left ruing another missed opportunity.

"Very disappointed, that’s the only thing I feel right now," he said. "I sort of think that somehow I was meant to be second in this tournament."
   Park has held or shared the final-round lead in all three Korean OneAsia events this year, but has finished second twice and fourth.

The $US900,000 tournament – worth three times more than any other regional tour event played this week – was the sixth leg on the OneAsia calendar and the second time it has been played in Gangwon-do, which will host the 2018 Winter Olympic games.

The round of the day and week belonged to Q-School graduate Garrett Sapp, who fired eight birdies and an eagle — as well as a bogey and double-bogey — for a 65 that moved him to sixth place, three shots behind the winner, and the biggest payday of his career.

The next event on OneAsia is the Nanshan China Masters from October 11-14. Kim Bi-o is the defending champion.

By: Rob Grant