Jeong becomes Asias 1st British amateur champion


MUIRFIELD, Scotland – South Korea’s Jin Jeong became the first Asian player to win the British Amateur Championship in the competition’s 125-year history.

The 20-year-old Jeong, who plays for Australia’s Waverley Golf Club, beat James Byrne of Scotland 5 and 4 in a 36-hole final on Saturday.

He secured a place in next month’s British Open at St. Andrews and an invitation to the 2011 Masters.

Jeong sank birdie putts of 30 feet, 12 feet and 18 feet on the par-five fifth, par-four sixth and par-three seventh to build a five-hole lead that would prove insurmountable.

“I’ve never putted better than that,” Jeong said. “I was quite nervous all week, especially before today. But I came here this week really wanting to win. I wanted this title so badly.”

Jeong is the second Korean amateur to earn a place at St. Andrews after Eric Chun secured an Open berth through the Asian leg of International Final Qualifying earlier this year.

“I always hoped that my first major would be the Open,” Jeong said. “Now I can play at St. Andrews. It means everything. It’s a dream come true.”