Larrazábal storms to two-stroke victory in Korea

Mark McGowan

Pablo Larrazábal with the trophy - Photo Getty Images

Pablo Larrazábal won the 2023 Korea Championship Presented by Genesis by two shots after producing a back-nine birdie blitz to see off a high-quality chasing pack.

Irish interest had already ended at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea as Tom McKibbin and Gary Hurley fell victim to the 36-hole cut, but a tight battle was unfolding on Sunday afternoon, with Larrazábal finding himself in a five-way share of the lead on nine under when he reached the turn following two front-nine birdies.

The Spaniard slipped from the summit after dropping his first shot of the round at the tenth but roared back, making four birdies in the next five holes to open up a three-shot lead.


He then safely parred his way home to complete a closing 67, to finish the tournament on 12 under par and claim an eighth DP World Tour title just a couple of weeks before his 40th birthday.

Dane Marcus Helligkilde signed for a fourth-round 68 to finish in solo second on ten under, one clear of home favourite Park Sanghyun, Spain’s Jorge Campillo, Dutchman Joost Luiten and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson.

“It’s amazing,” Larrazábal said afterwards. “In two weeks I’m turning 40. I’m not a long hitter. To play against all these 20 year old guys now that hit the ball 40 yards over me, and to beat them is unbelievable.

“To do it here in Korea, where we have not come for ten years and where I love to play. Now it’s one of my favourite places in the world.

“My favourite moment of the championship was probably Tuesday when I realised how good the golf course was and how it could suit my game.

“Then when I saw the weather on Friday afternoon with the wind coming in, I thought I would have a chance. I’m not the biggest hitter but I love wind conditions. I love to keep it low, to play with trajectories. But my favourite moment was to kiss this beautiful trophy.

“My older brother is getting married on Saturday. I don’t know if I’ll bring the trophy to the wedding but I’m sure we’ll celebrate 95% his wedding and a couple – not too many – drinks celebrating my title.

“I just love this golf course. I love how Jack Nicklaus designs golf courses. It’s all about the second shot into the greens. Is it better for Korean or European golfers? Well, you take KJ Choi in his best and he would win this tournament by a few. This was my week, maybe next year we have a Korean champion.”


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