Lee Jung-hwan, 31, has a chance to win his first major championship since leaving the military at the KPGA Championship (1.5 billion won in prize money).
Lee carded five birdies and two bogeys for a 3-under 68 in the third round of the tournament on Tuesday at A-ONE CC (Par 71) in Yangsan, Gyeongnam.
With an 8-under-par 205 total, Lee heads into the final round with a one-stroke lead over four players in the second place group.
After winning his first title at the 먹튀검증 2017 Kaido Golden V1 Open, Lee claimed his second victory of the 2018 season at the Golf Zone-DYB Tour Championship, putting him on track to reach the three-win plateau for the first time in nearly five years.
The iron-shooting Lee’s championship clock had been stopped for more than four years due to his military service, which lasted from 2018 to 2020.
He began his military service as a social worker shortly after the 2018 season, and while working as an administrative assistant at a local government office, he was able to keep his swing somewhat intact by playing a round of golf on the weekends.
However, he never had the opportunity to step onto greens with green speeds of more than 3 meters per second, which are common on professional tournament courses. “Even after returning to the tour, it took me about a year to regain my putt feel on fast greens,” says Lee. “It wasn’t just a matter of adjusting to the speed, it was a matter of knowing exactly where the ball would break.”
After returning in 2021 and finishing outside the top 40 on the money list for two consecutive years, Lee has slowly regained his form this year. In eight tournaments this year, he has three top-10 finishes and two runner-up finishes.
“Overall, I was happy with my performance. I didn’t make any big mistakes with my shots. My putts went in when they should have gone in.” “I think I capitalized on my chances. The wind was strong, but it was manageable,” he said. “I’m not impatient to win, but I’m a little greedy this time,” he said.
Yang Ji-ho, Choi Seung-bin, Park Joon-hong and Kim Tae-ho are second at 7 under par. Lee Tae-hee, Lee Won-joon (AUS) and Lee Tae-hoon (CAN) are tied for sixth at 6-under par.