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To Shoot or to Putt

Posted May. 26, 2005 03:30,   


There are many soccer and golf prospects. However, there are only few prospects who excel in both. That is why “sports prospect” Kim Nam-hoon (Shinmook Elementary School fifth grader) is very conspicuous.

On the afternoon of May 24 at Shinmook Elementary School field located in Mook2-dong, Jungnang-gu, Seoul.

Kim, who is vastly bigger (160cm, 52kg) than the boys of his age, is running on the field.

Soccer team coach Bae Dong did not hesitate in praising him, “Nam-hoon’s stamina and ball control is just outstanding. He has sufficient talent to grow into Korean soccer’s main striker.”

His golfing skills, which he only started a year ago, are also on par.

The average distance of his driver shots is about 250 yards, almost the same as an average professional woman golfer.

At the Jeju Governor Cup National Tournament held this March, he placed eighth in the preliminary round and 14th in the final round. He also placed fifth at the Seoul Mayor’s Cup. For a fifth grader to beat a sixth grader and take fifth place is a great feat.

With a five handicap, his best score, recently marked at Yeoju CC, is a 3-under-69.

Hills For Park Golf Range’s pro golf player commented, “Maybe because he plays soccer, but his lower body is very developed and his game management ability is superb. His determination to win and his concentration are also amazing for an elementary school student.”

Between soccer and golf, what does Kim like more? He answered, “Both sports are fun. They complement each other because lower body strength is important. I will choose the one in which I am better after I finish elementary school.” His father wants him to become a golfer. He gave his son the English name “Leo” (Lion) – which is able to beat a tiger - so that he can become a world-class player surpassing Tiger Woods.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com