Huh making an early run with first-round 66 at Colonial

Posted Thursday, May. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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It’s been a Korean run so far through the Dallas-Fort Worth area golf tournaments.

Inbee Park got it started with a win at the North Texas LPGA Shootout last month, and Sang-Moon Bae won last week’s HP Byron Nelson Classic.

Can John Huh make it a clean sweep with a win this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial?

“Uh, I don’t know … winning is not that easy,” said Huh, who shot a 4-under 66 on Thursday and finished the day tied for 13th.

“So what I’m going to try to do is play my game and get a little lucky and hopefully come up with a good result.”

Park and Bae are Korean nationals while Huh is of Korean descent. The 23-year-old was born in New York but spent 12 years of his childhood in South Korea.

It would be quite an accomplishment for a country that has produced only one major champion, Southlake resident Y.E. Yang, who won the 2009 PGA Championship. The most accomplished South Korean golfer, K.J. Choi, resides in Westlake.

Huh calls DFW home, too, practicing out of TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, and Bae is expected to move to the area in the near future.

Huh was proud to see one of his idols, Bae, win his first PGA Tour event last week in Irving, and Huh is hoping to follow suit this week. Bae, Yang and Seung-Yul Noh are other Koreans competing this week, but Huh is in the best position after Day 1.

And there’s no reason to think Huh can’t pull it off, either.

He was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year last season, the first player of Korean descent to receive that honor. Huh also earned his first win in remarkable fashion last February at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Huh started that tournament’s final round seven shots off the lead but fired an 8-under 63 with six birdies, one eagle and no bogeys to force a playoff with Robert Allenby.

Huh and Allenby went blow-for-blow in what became an eight-hole playoff, one that Huh eventually won with a par when Allenby made bogey.

“Last year was spectacular for me,” said Huh, who won more than $2.6 million. “I won and went to the [season-ending] TOUR Championship. I just couldn’t ask for anything better than that. I’m trying to keep up with how I did last year, but it’s not that easy.”

Outside of his win, Huh’s other top two tournaments were in Texas. He finished second at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio and then tied for fifth at last year’s Colonial.

Huh shot under par in all four rounds at Colonial, highlighted by a 5-under 66 on Day 2. He carried the knowledge he gained from last year into his round Thursday.

Huh, who started off the 10th tee, bogeyed No. 12 but played his final 15 holes 5 under with six birdies and one bogey. He ended his day by draining a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 9.

“After I made bogey on 12, I was like, ‘Let’s go,’” said Huh, who tied for eighth last week at the Nelson. “I’m really pleased with how I finished my round. This course requires you to hit the fairways and the greens, and hopefully I can do that for the next three days.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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