Korean American Golfer James Hahn Wins First PGA Title

kpopluv, Feb. 24, 2015, 10:18 a.m.

Korean-American golfer James Hahn collected his first PGA Tour title on Sunday at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.  In the fourth and final round, Hahn hit two under to finish 6-under 278, going into a playoff with the England's Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson of the U.S. 

In the third round of the playoff, Hahn edged out Johnson to pick up the first PGA title of his career. "I never would have thought I'd win this tournament," said Hahn, whose win came in the 65th event since he entered the PGA Tour. 

Bad weather produced errors from many players toward the end, so in fact there were a dozen players within reach of the trophy apart from the three who went on to the playoff. 

Sergio García, who shared fourth place with 5-under, Bae Sang-moon, who shared eighth place with 4-under, and Vijay Singh who concluded in joint 12th place with 3-under were all in the race for the title.

Born in Seoul in 1981, Hahn moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was two. His father ran a golf range in Oakland, California, so Hahn was introduced to golf at the age of four. But his family were not rich, so although he was able to practice on his father's range, he had little opportunity to play on a golf course. 

He turned professional in 2003 and played in regional mini tours, but he often had to quit as he did not have enough money. He took any job to support himself, working in advertising and real estate. For some time he sold women's shoes in a department store to save up. 

He played in Korea in 2007 but did not produce noticeable results, and in the Canadian Tour for two years from 2008. He looked for jobs even during competitions and thought about quitting golf many times. But he was convinced that his chance to play on the PGA Tour would come as long as he held on to his dream. 

His triumph at the Northern Trust Open netted him a cool US$1.2 million, a berth at the Masters in April and a guaranteed seat for the next season.

"I'm more excited about being a dad than winning any golf tournament," said Hahn, whose wife is expecting a baby girl in three weeks. "I couldn't be more excited, and more nervous that we don't have a name picked out yet. I'm going to have to talk to my wife about 'Riviera.' I think that's a good name."

He also wants to get a new car for his wife, who has supported him while driving an old car with over 130,000 miles on the clock.


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