The presence of Korean golfers was keenly felt at the final Q-school of the U.S. PGA as young hopefuls bid to join the coveted tour next year.
Lee Dong-hwan, a 25-year-old golfer who won two titles on the Japan Tour, became the first Asian to monopolize first place in the Q-school rankings. Meanwhile, Kim Si-woo, a mighty high schooler who conquered Korea's KPGA Tour, became the youngest person to qualify at the age of 17 years, five months and six days. Choi Kyung-ju was the first Korean who made it through Q-school in 1999.
On the sixth round of the PGA qualifying tournament on Tuesday in La Quinta, California, Lee hit eight birdies and three bogeys to win with a final score of 25-under 407, edging ahead of runners-up Ross Fisher of England and Steve LeBrun of the U.S. by a single stroke.
Korean-American Richard Lee finished fourth at 23-under and Korean Park Jin was one stroke behind him. They both also went through.
There will be 11 players of Korean descent on the PGA Tour in 2013: Choi Kyung-ju, Yang Yong-eun, Kevin Na, Charlie Wi, Bae Sang-moon, John Huh, Noh Seung-yul, Lee Dong-hwan, Richard Lee, Park Jin, and Kim Si-woo.
Korean-New Zealander Danny Lee hit 16-under to finish 27th and Kim Meen-whee ended the tournament at 43rd with 14-under, meaning that both are eligible for the second-tier Web.com Tour next year.
The PGA Tour will abolish Q-school from next year and golfers will have to earn their berth by first proving themselves on the Web.com Tour.