Date: July 14, 2014

Griffin wins Korean PGA Championship

There is something about Korea for Matthew Griffin, the Melburnian who keeps clocking up wins in Asia.

For the third straight year, 30-year-old Griffin has won a tournament on the Korean Tour, this time the Korean PGA Championship at Sky72 resort at Incheon, outside the capital Seoul, one of the ‘majors’ of that tour.

A pair of 66s on the weekend gave the Victorian a three-shot win and $200,000 first prize to knock off his mortgage. It is Griffin’s second win this season, and his fifth as a professional, having also won the Oates Victorian Open at 13th Beach in February this year.

He told from Seoul that his game was continuing to grow. "The exciting thing this week was I only made one bogey, which was very solid,” he said. "I’ve made swing improvements, and I’m just gradually getting better. I just have to take my opportunities and play well at the right time. My golf’s got a bit better each year, and this year having had two wins halfway through the year shows it’s continuing to improve. I know that my best golf is good enough to compete at the best level. It’s just producing it at the right time.”

Early birdies on the final day gave him a healthy lead that he clung to down the stretch, and he has been dubbed ‘the Kimchi Kid’ (after the national dish) by compatriots for his prominence in Korea.  "It’s a funny thing. My first few years in Korea were poor. I missed five cuts in a row but I’ve had a big win the last three years. I think ultimately think the courses suit my game. You need to be straight off the tee, the greens are nice to putt on and you get quite a bit of breeze. It suits me well.”

Griffin admitted he only played the Korean PGA because his partner, Liz Johnston, is studying at Seoul University. "It was a good opportunity to come up, play some golf and to visit her.” Johnston caddied for him this week, and hence was expecting a healthy cut of the prizemoney!

The Victoria Golf Club stalwart has been plying his trade in Asia for several years, but has his sights on the European Tour. Starts in several European co-sanctioned events, such as the Hong Kong Open, the Dunhill Links and the Perth International, give him opportunities in that light.

 There is also the inaugural Fiji International on the Australasian Tour next month, but for now, Griffin is celebrating another trophy. "Winning in any sport, the more you do it hopefully the easier it becomes. Being able to compete under the pump this weekend shows that when the really serious golf starts later in the year it gives me confidence I can do it again.”

By: Martin Blake (for Golf Australia)