CHEONAN, South Korea – Kang Sung-hoon won the Korea Open on Sunday, which ended in a dispute after Kim Hyung-tae was informed of a two-shot penalty when he lead by one shot with two holes to play.
Kim, who started the final round with a four-shot lead, argued that he never grounded his club on the 13th hole. The OneAsia Tour said he discussed the violation with tournament officials for two hours. The Korean Golf Association voted 5-3 against him.
It was an awkward ending for Kang, who closed with a 2-under 69 for a one-shot victory over Kim, Rory McIlroy (67) and two others. The four-way tie for second was the best for McIlroy since he was runner-up at the Texas Open in April.
Kim had a one-shot lead when he was notified on the 17th tee that he and playing partner Hong Soon-sang grounded their clubs in an area on the 13th deemed to be a hazard. They finished their rounds before reviewing the violation (Rule 13-4) with officials.
The two-shot penalty gave Kim a closing 77.