Australian Matthew Griffin has finished 7th in the Japan / Asian Tour’s Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea, his best finish since becoming a first-time father in June.
36 year old, Griffin, finished 8 shots behind the eventual winner, Jbe Kruger, but it was an encouraging week for the Victorian who began the season extremely well before the obvious and understandable distractions caused by the arrival of his son Jack.
Griffin, who earned just on A$40,000 this week, will move to 15th on the Japan Tour money list with a touch over ¥29 million or A$400,000, continuing a commercially successful career in Japan despite not winning in his now five seasons there.
Griffin has, however, tasted success in Korea previously, having won three times in that country in addition to his victories at the New Zealand Victorian Opens.
Other Australians in this jointly sanctioned event were Travis Smyth (12th), his best finish since finishing 7th in this same event last year, New Zealand Open Champion, Zach Murray and Andrew Dodt (18th) and Won Joon Lee 32nd.
South African, Kruger won, just his second tournament on the Asian Tour, his last coming in 2012, and after missing his last three cuts in 2019 it was a welcome return to form.
For Kruger the victory opens to door to the Japan Tour as winning this co sanctioned event allows him to play in Japan and he is excited by the prospect.
“I’m a professional and this is what I do for a living, so I will probably go where the money is, go
there and play well,” said Kruger.
“I have been a big fan of playing in Japan, but you can’t really get into that Tour if you haven’t gone to Q school. But now, things have changed.
“This course is a Jack Nicklaus design golf course. It’s the same as my own course, so the first time I came here, it literally looks identical. It has the same lines, the same kind of grass.
“Everything is exactly the same and it almost feels like a home away from home. So, you know I’ve heard someone say “horses for courses” and that’s the truth, because you generally play well at the same courses all year long.”
Kruger won by two over the long hitting American Chan Kim who is a regular on the Japan Tour where he has won three times.