Soomin Lee's monumental first European Tour win shows he can be fine successor to fellow Koreans KJ Choi and YE Yang

Sam Torrance
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Shenzhen International - Day Five
Soomin Lee showed character to recover from a recent collapse in Malaysia to claim his first European Tour title at just the sixth attempt (Source: Getty)

We have seen Asia dominating women’s golf for some time now but in the men’s game the success has been more sporadic. If it is to go the same way then it may end up being down to the likes of Soomin Lee.

The 22-year-old from South Korea claimed his maiden European Tour title at just the sixth attempt on Monday following a delayed finish to the Shenzhen International in China.

It was a great comeback considering he was three over par for the front nine of his final round, and nothing short of monumental given the disappointment that he endured in Malaysia two months ago.

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Then, Lee had taken a three-shot lead into the last day of the Maybank Championship, only to see the win slip away when he suffered two double bogeys over the final three holes.

Such setbacks hurt more at a young age – when you’re older you can take the knocks more easily – so that was very tough on him. He must have strong people around him to have nudged him back to health.

Life-changing moment

These wins are life-changing moments for players starting their careers. I have heard nothing but good things about Lee, and from what I have seen he swings well. He looks to be the real deal.

KJ Choi has flown the flag for Korean players for years, while YE Yang became the first from the country to win a Major when he beat Tiger Woods to the 2009 US PGA Championship. Lee looks a fine successor.

England’s Lee Slattery will be disappointed with the way he ended the event. He had been tied for the lead when play was halted on Sunday evening but finished in a tie for fourth.

Exceptional player

Holland’s Joost Luiten, meanwhile, was runner-up for the second successive week. He’s an exceptional player and it looks as though his time is definitely coming.

Across the Atlantic on the PGA Tour, I thought it might finally be former world No1 Luke Donald’s week.

The Englishman, second seven days earlier, started the final round of the Valero Texas Open two shots off the lead but never recovered from a poor start and faded to finish tied for 13th.

All the same it was a positive week for him. It’s tough for players who have been at the very top of the game having to tip-toe their way back up the rankings but Donald seems to be on the way back.

He was beaten by Charley Hoffman, who has been playing great golf for ages. He clinched the title with a birdie at 18 for a one-shot win, and it always feels right when that happens.

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