An eagle putt that was less than 3m.
There was a slight slope to the green, but it was not that difficult once I used the putting skill.
This was my first eagle in this competition.
That seemed to be the beginning. Maybe my luck turned for the better, but my momentum shifted from there.
However, I did not manage to do the perfect rounding that I would be satisfied with.
It was because of the wind. Although Jejudo was known for its wind, today seemed to be worse than usual.
The biggest issue was the wind up high that we could not see. The direction and strength of the wind continuously changed but not being able to see it made it impossible to calculate accurately.
It would not be wrong to say that a long-distance hitter’s greatest enemy is the wind. If it starts to ride the wind incorrectly, it may swing in a completely odd direction.
Specifically, it was the worst for people like me. Since I averaged 350m per shot, calculating the direction of the wind even slightly wrong ended up resulting in OB or Hazard.
However, the rankings did not change based on the overall results. I finished the rounding in first place at 9 under-par.
Robert and Lutz, two of the PGA’s four horsemen, and the two Golden Dragon Kids who had been the center of attention from the beginning of the tournament, as well as four other people were at 6 under-par or 5-under par to compete for second place.
The interview would definitely be for me …… Or so I thought. Especially since this was taking place in Korea.
However, all of the reporters focused on Robert and Lutz.
That happened throughout the rounding. The camera had no choice but to follow me because I was in first place, however, the majority of the gallery was with Robert and Lutz.
Even the network may have been upset at the fact that I was in first place.
Or they might be thanking me for providing good TV by providing the unexpected.
Either way, the main characters for the first day’s rounding were Robert and Lutz. The level of interest in me in comparison was probably about 50 percent of the interest shown to them.
However, the Korean reporters did show me some interest. They gave me almost as long of an interview time as they gave to Robert and Lutz.
“You finished today’s rounding in first place. Were you expecting this result?”
Interviews are just a different type of show. I needed to use these opportunities to create my image and increase my presence.
That means that rather than saying the truth, I should say something that might appeal to the people a little bit more.
What kind of image will I create?
A modest one?
I probably would have done something like that 20 years ago. During that time, Koreans thought that being modest was the way to live.
However, it is easy to get buried in the sand if you act modest. You needed to promote yourself. And you needed to do it well.
It might actually be better to lean toward cocky than modest. It wouldn’t work if you were cocky without the skills to back it up, but I knew I had to skills to back up my words.
It would also irritate the people competing with me.
“To be honest with you, it was not that great. I am not satisfied with my results today.”
“Isn’t 9 under-par and being first place good enough? You are more than 2 strokes ahead of second place.”
“I do not compare myself to anybody else when I play golf. This is a battle against myself.”
“Then can we expect a better score tomorrow?”
That was something that could not be guaranteed. Tomorrow’s weather might be even worse than today.
However, the weather forecast did say it will not be as windy.
Anyways, I’ll deal with the fallout tomorrow.
I also had a card in store for emergencies. It was something only I could do, and something that I had never used in golf before.
I will use that card tomorrow.
“You can look forward to it. I will control my condition to create a fiery showtime for you.”
“Then it will be the Kang Hwi Ram show. We look forward to an amazing performance.”
“What the hell is that bastard saying?”
Robert started to frown.
Lutz did not feel good either.
Honestly speaking, Lutz was in the best condition today. Recording a 7 under-par was a fabulous score.
If he performed like this for the remaining three rounds, he may even get the record for the lowest strokes in history.
However, there was someone who was two strokes ahead of him, and it was an unknown Korean rookie who was claiming that he was in his worst condition.
The last thing the Korean said was the most annoying.
“Showtime? Kang Hwi Ram show? He’s super cocky after having one good rounding.”
“Hey. Lutz. We’ll become the laughingstocks of the world if we hand him the winner’s trophy.”
“We can’t let that happen. I don’t know how the groups will be separated tomorrow, but I hope I can complete in the same group with him. I want to kick his ass.”
“They said the top rankers will be grouped together so one of us is definitely going to be with him. Regardless of which one of us it is, we need to shut him down.”
Robert confirmed their plan with Lutz.
However, he felt like that would not be enough. Based on what he saw of Kang Hwi Ram’s rounding today, he felt like today’s results were not just from luck.
‘I need to prepare another plan as well.’
The next day.
‘Is that guy Lutz Hill?’
He is known as one of the PGA’s Four horsemen. He’s in his late thirties but has been sitting at the top of the PGA world for ten years.
‘He seems pretty strong.’
He was over 190 cms tall and his body and legs were thick. Based on his appearance, people would believe it if you said he was a retired fighting champion.
He was a long-distance hitter. He could easily reach 400 m if he used his whole strength to swing.
His short game skills were amazing as well.
However, he is lacking a bit in the stability area that his shot breaks down in the middle of the rounding quite often.
That was all information that Han Sul Yi provided for me.
However, something like that was not important to me. How Lutz hits the ball doesn’t matter. What matters is how I hit the ball.
I was just a bit focused on it because Han Sul Yi kept talking about Lutz.
However, Lutz seemed to be wary of me as well. He kept looking at me while I was stretching before our rounding started. His gaze was a bit competitive.
It was as if he was burning up with the thought of stepping all over me during this rounding.
‘Tsk tsk, that just makes it easier for him to break down in the middle.’
I started to ignore him after that. It was time to officially start the showtime.
The sky was clear without a single cloud. The wind was definitely less than yesterday as well. The weather forecast seems to have been accurate for once.
However, there was still some wind based on how the leaves were shaking. If I take the time to accurately determine the direction of the wind, my goal for today should be achievable.
The rounding finally started.
The owner for the first shot today was me.
However, the competitiveness started in the first hole. It was a 403m long par 4 hole, but it was a dog-leg course with a significant curve to the left that the direct distance to the cup was only about 370m.
There was a headwind blowing so it might not go as far as I expect, but it would only impact it about 10m at max. If I swing while thinking about hitting 380m, I should be able to get on-green.
This first hole was where I had recorded an OB yesterday. The wind was stronger than today and there was a small gust of wind that was invisible that made my ball fly in an odd direction.
In order to make up for yesterday’s mistake, pressure the other players, and aim for a new record, I aimed for another tee shot on-green.
‘Then shall I use my final card?’
I took out my smartphone.
I then immediately went into my Jewel Box and took out one Jewel of Luck. I decided to use the one with the highest luck Index.
[Jewel of Luck: Luck Index 22]
This was one that I successfully combined in Royal Roader not too long ago. I attempted to combine more of them afterwards, but I was not able to get any higher than a luck Index of 22.
However, it will continue to go up in the future.
And Jewels of Luck were things I could easily buy with money. I was overflowing with money in Royal Roader anyways.
I dragged the Jewel of Luck out without any hesitation.
[Kang Hwi Ram-nim’s luck Index will increase by 22. The duration is for four hours.]
‘Done! Now shall I get the showtime started?’
[Driver 380 skill: Intermediate Level 4, 66%]
The farthest distance I can hit with the basic driver skill is 360m. Anything farther than that required this new driver skill where I swing the club like a baseball bat.
That was why the skill level was not that high even though I’ve been practicing it quite a bit.
However, there shouldn’t be much issues because the chances of error were not that high.
I swung my driver without any hesitation.
The gallery’s amazed gasps could be heard after I hit the ball with a clean sound. With hundreds of people in the gallery, even all of them gasping quietly created a bit of noise.
I then heard some cheering.
“Wow, the direction is accurate! It went on!”
“Oh oh …… Is it going in?”
People in the gallery were using their smartphones to see ahead or looking up at the TV screen. It allowed us to see live footage of the green that was not visible from here.
My heart was beating quickly as well.
‘Did they say going in? Ay, no way.’
And it was as I expected.
“Aww, what a pity! He used too much strength. A little less and it would have gone in.”
“At least it is within 2 m. At that distance, an eagle is almost a given.”
“He really meant it when he said he’ll give us a showtime today!”
I started to smile.
‘What a good start.’
It was Lutz’s turn next.
Lutz did not easily swing after putting the ball on the pin. He was a bit away from the ball doing some practice swings to control his condition.
He seemed to be contemplating something.
It was obvious what he was contemplating. Will he take the safe route, or will he attempt a one shot on-green?
His decision was to go with a safe shop. It was because the sides of the green were narrow, making it easy to get an OB or a Hazard.
It really didn’t matter to me what he did.
After recording an eagle on the first hole, I continued my dominating ways. However, although I successfully managed a tee shot on-green starting from the second hole, I had to be satisfied with birdies because I did not get the balls close enough to the hole.
Then we arrived at hole 4.
It was a 179m long par 3 hole. However, there was a slight downward slope, so you would be able to accurately place the ball next to the cup if you aimed to send it flying 170m.
I barely failed a hole-in-one yesterday by 30cm.
There is also a 1 million won hole-in-one prize on this hole as well.
If it is 170m, I could use my 4 Iron without pretty much any error. It was because the skill level for the iron was almost as high as the driver.
I also used a Jewel of Luck today.
‘Please, go in ……’
I activated the skill while praying for success.
[4 Iron 170 skill: Intermediate Level 7, 55%]
I swung the iron. There should be no error in my swing because I used a skill. The only issues were how accurately I judged the direction and if the ball changes course as it flies.
The gallery was the first to respond again. They must have had a good feeling after seeing my shot.
“Direction is good. Strength is good as well.”
I could see the movement of the ball as well. I could see the white ball safely land on the green and start to roll toward the flag.
It was slightly tilted to the left, but I had a good feeling about it. It was because there was a small break on the green. This green was slanted to the right.
The ball slowed down and started to turn to the right as I expected.
The gallery’s voice became louder as it happened.
“Oh oh. It’s going in. The direction is perfect!”
Then I heard the cheers and whistling.
“Wow! It went in!”
“Kang Hwi Ram hooray!”
Even Han Sul Yi screamed and raised her arms in the air. She then gave me a high five.
‘Hole-in-ones really are thrilling!’
That was the beginning. I was more aggressive with my tee shots from there.
I did record one OB and one Hazard because I didn’t accurately predict the wind, however, I got at least a birdie in most holes and even had one eagle.
Thanks to that, I had a score of 14 under-par by hole 17.
Then we arrived at hole 18.
My heart was beating fast. Today would have been perfect if I finished properly.
However, I was not the only one feeling that way. I listened to the broadcast as I walked around the course, and the broadcasters seemed to be even more excited than I was.
Proofreader: Borderline Said I Would Edit but Never Did