SPORTS

Golf's new giant slayer hoping for shot at Olympics

By KH디지털1
  • Published : Feb 11, 2016 - 10:30
  • Updated : Feb 11, 2016 - 10:30

After stunning world No. 1 Jordan Spieth with his first professional victory earlier this month, South Korean Song Young-han said Thursday he's hoping for a chance to compete at this year's Summer Olympics.

Golf's latest giant slayer made a triumphant return home Thursday after beating Spieth by one shot to win the SMBC Singapore Open on the Asian Tour on Feb. 1.

"It was an honor to win the tournament by beating the No.1-ranked player. I was fortunate," he told reporters at Incheon International Airport. "It would have been nice to have played with him in the same pairing. It didn't really hit me that I actually beat him."

The fourth round was suspended due to inclement weather, with Song nursing a two-stroke lead and facing a nervy 10-foot par putt on the par-4 16th, while Spieth had left himself with a short birdie attempt at the par-5 18th.

When play resumed, Spieth sank his birdie putt to eat into Song's lead, but the South Korean, who'd entered play ranked 204th in the world, also made his putt to stay in front. Song parred the final two holes for the nail-biting win.

Song made his professional debut on the Korean PGA Tour in 2013, and was named the tour's Rookie of the Year. In 2015, he was the Japan Golf Tour Organization's top rookie. Yet he'd accomplished these feats without winning any tournament.

"I was desperate for a win in Singapore, and it helped me focus better," said Song, who had six runner-up finishes in Korea and Japan combined. "I'd finished second so often, so I was glad to get the monkey off my back and silence people who doubted I could ever win a tournament."

After the win, Song soared to No. 110 in the world rankings.

And while he still remains a long shot, Song said he'd love to get a chance to represent South Korea at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where golf will be played for the first time in 112 years.

The top 15 players in the world rankings are eligible, with a limit of four players per nation. Beyond the top 15, countries can have up to two other players. Despite his recent surge, Song is still only the third-highest South Korean on the rankings, after An Byeong-hun and Kim Kyung-tae.

"I haven't put too much thought into the Olympics yet, but it'd be a great honor to compete in it," he said. "If I keep doing my best every tournament, I think I will have a chance."

The Singapore Open victory gave Song exemptions to play on the Asian Tour the rest of the season, but he said he hasn't set himself any specific statistical goal.

"My goal is just to keep doing the best I can," he said. "And the more often I win, the better." (Yonhap)