15 Feb 2011

Koreans qualify for New Zealand Open

5:57 am on 15 February 2011

The strength of women's golf in Korea was evident with all five places in the final qualifying for this week's New Zealand Women's Open secured by young professionals from the game's superpower.

Twenty-eight players were chasing the final five spots up for grabs for the New Zealand Open at Waitikiri Golf Club in Christchurch.

Eighteen year old Hee Kyung Bae set the pace with a four-under 68 to top qualifiers, one shot ahead of compatriot Hee Won Jung and Korean-based New Zealander Yeon Song Kim.

There was a New Zealand feel to the day in the form of Kim, who was educated at Rangitoto College on the North Shore and won the New Zealand Strokeplay title at Muriwai in 2006. She competed for New Zealand at the Junior Tasman Cup in 2006 and the following year in the Commonwealth Tournament and Tasman Cup before returning to Korea to turn professional. She is now playing on the minor Dream Tour in Korea.

The first three alternates were also Korean professionals with the leading amateur Pakuranga club and Auckland representative Mun Chin Keh who shot a three-over 75.