One week later, at Incheon Grand GC.
This is the place where the KPGA Pro Qualification Preliminaries are taking place.
A lot of the Lions members came to cheer me on.
Han Sul Yi came to the Grand GC as well. But she was here to be the expert announcer, not to cheer me on.
But that alone was enough to give me a sense of how high my fame was right now.
This wasn’t even the KPGA tour. This was just the KPGA Pro Qualifications, and the preliminaries at that.
It is not often that such a competition is broadcasted on TV.
But the main golf cable broadcast station bought the rights to this competition. They even had to go through a pretty brutal competition with other cable companies to get it.
What would be the reason for that? Wouldn’t it be the interest the general public has for me?
I even felt like I was starting to become a little arrogant.
I can’t be like that. I’m supposed to dominate the PGA, I can’t become too excited for just this.
But I could not help the smile starting to form on my face.
Han Sul Yi started to smile as well after seeing my expression.
“Your condition must be good today.”
“I am always in good condition. Haha.”
“I’m glad. Hoho. Omo, I just noticed, are you sponsored by the Golden Dragon Group now?”
Han Sul Yi looked really surprised after looking at my cap.
I don’t know how many times I’ve already had to share this story. Every time I have met up with one of the Lions members in the past, they have all asked about the Golden Dragon Group logo on my cap.
“Yes, it ended up that way.”
This is what you call a dramatic blow.
The Golden Dragon Group PR team came to visit me at the practice range yesterday. They then agreed to the contract conditions I gave them.
But they added a qualifier.
[We will deposit the money if you pass the preliminaries and the actual qualification. However, you must place in the top 3 ……]
Well, there were actually quite a few different qualifications.
There was a lot of information, but there was really one core meaning behind it all.
[We are going to give you an impossible mission to cut the cost down.]
It is obviously Hwang Joon Yul’s doing. Hwang Joon Yul is also part of the Golden Dragon Group and the Golden Dragon Kids. I also heard he’s gotten on Chairman Jung Man Yong’s good side through golf.
Furthermore, we may hate each other, but wasn’t he my middle school classmate?
I am curious as to why Hwang Joon Yul offered such good terms, but I had no reason to reject the offer. With my current skills and network, there would be no way for me to get an even better sponsor.
I now had enough money to not have any regrets, but there was no reason to turn down free money. If I’m going to get free money, I might as well get as much as possible.
That was why I changed the conditions a little bit.
The changed part is pretty simple. We kept the reward for first place and new record the same, but we cut the sponsor amount in half. In return, the contract duration was cut down to just 6 months.
Of course the Golden Dragon Group’s PR team accepted the offer. In fact, they happily accepted it.
I’m sure they think that it is beneficial for them. My skills will be fully visible in six months and they were only spending a small amount of money just in case I was a dud.
But they’ll find out when we get there. They’ll realize just how conservative my 1 year 1 billion won request was. They’ll realize that they will need to pay a significantly higher amount at that time to get me to resign with them.
And one more thing.
I will make sure to call Hwang Joon Yul to personally come to the next round of negotiations. I will then thoroughly enjoy the privilege I will have as the advantageous party. I will make sure Hwang Joon Yul feels the nervousness of being the lesser person.
Just thinking about it is making me happy. (PR: Sadist alert)
Anyways, that was how I came to wear the Golden Dragon Group’s hat.
But there was no way I would change the Dandelion uniform.
“Please do well. You must pass.”
Of course. I will not only pass the preliminaries, I will also set a new record for lowest amount of strokes in 36 holes.
The current KPGA record is 12 under-par for 18 holes and 17 under-par for 36 holes. It might be hard to get 12 under-par for 18 holes, but 17 under-par for 36 holes should be a breeze.
“Thank you. Miss Han Sul Yi should work hard as well.”
“Thank you. Fighting!”
I high-fived with Han Sul Yi as a symbol for both of us to do well.
That was how the rounding started.
‘Ah, shit. I’m nervous! Why is that bastard so good?’
Hwang Joon Yul could not straighten his back while watching TV.
It was because of nervousness.
Kang Hwi Ram was alone in first place after 9 holes. His current score was 5 under-par.
His current score was scary enough, but the thing that worried Hwang Joon Yul even more was the fact that Kang Hwi Ram was starting to get it together. He recorded a par after making a putting mistake in the first three holes, but started to get only birdies from the fourth hole onwards.
His driver was amazing as well. It was a par 4 hole, with close to 400 meters to the hole, but he managed to land a tee shot on-green.
It wasn’t like he did it just once more twice. As long as it was a par 4 hole with less than 400 meters of distance, he always aimed for a tee shot on-green. Although he missed the first two times, he has succeeded in all of them after that.
At this rate, it would not be impossible to record a minimum of 8 under-par for the back 9.
That would mean he would create a new record for the KPGA lowest strokes for 18 holes. That alone will make Hwang Joon Yul lose 700 million won.
Was that it? If Kang Hwi Ram managed to record another new record in the second round, that was another 800 million won.
They would also need to give him an extra 500 million won in sponsor fees as promised as well.
‘Then how much is it? Ahh! 2 billion won!’
What would happen if Chairman Jung Man Yong found that out? He would definitely dock points for unnecessary overpay.
It would be great if it ended there. If things go terribly wrong, he might even say that he can’t leave his company to a useless bastard and take away all authority that Hwang Joon Yul currently has.
Just thinking about it was scary.
While Hwang Joon Yul was thinking like that, Kang Hwi Ram had stepped into the tee box for hole 10, the first hole in the back 9.
Hwang Joon Yul prayed as he focused on the TV.
326 meter par 4 hole.
The course and the green were extremely narrow, so much so that even a slight miss in the shot would land the ball in the OB.
Kang Hwi Ram set the direction and got into position. The announcers were already starting to get excited.
<He is once again aiming directly for the green, isn’t he?>
<You are right. The straight distance is slightly over 300 meters, and there is a downward slope of 9 meters, so for someone like our player Kang Hwi Ram and his driver distance, he definitely has enough to get it on there.>
<The problem is the extremely close OB area behind the green. If you send it even slightly too far, it can be dangerous.>
<Are we really worried about the ball going too far in a 326 meters par 4 hole? This is quite ironic. Anyways, the focus will be on his strength control.>
Kang Hwi Ram finished his address while they were chatting and swung his driver with all of his strength.
Hwang Joon Yul also clenched his fists at that moment.
‘Please let it be an OB. Please!’
A moment later.
Hwang Joon Yul pushed the table away with his foot.
“Ay, son of a bitch! How can that bastard never hit an OB?”
He could hear the announcers start to speak on the TV.
<Wow, amazing. It hit the flag. He could have recorded an albatross. It was so close.>
<He has a really cool driver swing. He has made a couple putting mistakes, but he has not made a single driver mistake.>
<His putting is becoming stable now as well. I am really looking forward to player Kang Hwi Ram’s final score today.>
“‘Looking forward to it,’ my ass!”
Hwang Joon Yul clenched the ashtray in front of him. He even almost chucked it at the TV.
“Ahh, so frustrating!”
Finally the 18th hole.
“Do not overdo it. Just recording a par on this hole is enough to tie the record for lowest strokes.”
It was the caddy. The caddy was not my own, he was there to help all four of us in our squad.
Of course, I would not listen. If I lower it by just one stroke, I can set a new record. That means that there is 500 million won on the line with this hole.
Why would I give up when I would make it through the preliminaries even if I make a mistake, and earn 500 million won if I hit well?
It really wasn’t an easy course though. It was a par 5 hole, but the distance was a whopping 583 meters. It is a straight course so there was no shortcuts, and a head wind has been blowing pretty hard for a while.
But I have my 400 meter driver shot.
I don’t have enough experience with it, but since the fairway is really wide, there should be no chance of the ball going into the OB area.
I got into the tee box and set up my address. I looked like I was about to swing a baseball bat.
Once I did that, some of the gallery members noticed it and started to whisper to each other.
“He must be aiming for a long distance shot.”
“If it is this player, he has enough accuracy to get a second shot on-green if he gets it within 200 meters.”
“Now that I think about it, he has two different driver stances. I feel like he gets into this baseball-like stance whenever he hits it really far.”
He was spot on. The address for my 300 meter and 400 meter shots were very different. I’ve already used it many times as well.
The gallery finally quieted down.
I looked toward the ball and opened my skill.
[Driver 400 skill: Beginner 31%]
So far so good. It felt right when it hit the ball. But I cannot see where the ball is flying. I cannot turn my head until I completely finish the swing.
That was how the swing form was set when I created the skill.
I finally finished the swing and looked for the ball. Sadly, I could not figure out where it went.
With no other options, I decided to ask the caddy.
“How’d it go?”
“It flew well. I think it should be fine.”
Even the caddy did not seem certain. Well, the ball did fly really far, so much so that it would be hard to verify with just your eyes.
But we got the results almost instantly. Since the camera installed on the green was following the shot, we were able to see it on cable TV.
I then heard some of the gallery start to scream. People watching the station on their smartphones were able to get instant notifications.
“Wow! He did it!”
“It’s so close!”
“Wow, if it rolled a little more, it would have been an albatross!”
I subconsciously started to smile really widely.
“Hoho, game over!’
Hwang Joon Yul was pulling at his hair with his hands.
“Ahh! I’m ruined!”
The ball was just 1 meter away from the hole cup. He was so shocked that it really may have ended up an albatross.
Either way, this was the worst situation. At that distance, it was almost a given that he would land the eagle putt to end up with 14 under-par.
It was the creation of a new record. If he manages even a 2 under-par tomorrow, it would be another new record.
It would cost him 1 billion won in just new record rewards.
And then another 200 million won on top of that since he was guaranteed to get first place in the preliminaries.
‘Ah, my head!’
A moment later, he heard the cheers on TV. Kang Hwi Ram had succeeded on his eagle putt.
<This is a new record for the KPGA 18 hole, isn’t it?>
<You are right. The old record was 12 under-par, and he lowered that by two strokes.>
<Player Kang Hwi Ram is really amazing. I feel like we are witnessing the birth of a super rookie in Korean Golf.>
<What should I do? My heart is beating so hard that it is hard to speak.>
‘Shit. I’m about to go crazy from my heart beating as well.’
How should he share the news to Chairman Jung Man Yong? He had already lost 1.2 billion won. Plus, at this rate, it was just a problem of time for them to lose 2 billion won.
How could things go so wrong like this?
His phone went off at that moment.
Hwang Joon Yul could feel his heart sink after verifying the caller. It was Chairman Jung Man Yong’s secretary. He could not avoid it. He needed to face it and defeat it.
– The Chairman is calling for you. How fast can you get here?
He could not make Chairman Jung Man Yong wait.
“I should be able to get there in 20 minutes.”
– I will let the Chairman know.
Hwang Joon Yul rushed out. He was barely able to knock on the Chairman’s Office door right at the 20 minute mark.
He opened the door and entered.
In the office was his father, Hwang Chi Gook. They were looking at the TV on the wall together. It was a broadcast related to the KPGA Pro Qualifications Kang Hwi Ram participated in.
Jung Man Yong smiled brightly once Hwang Joon Yul arrived and opened up his arms as if telling him to come give him a hug.
Today, that looked like hell for Hwang Joon Yul.
He still went and gave him a hug.
“Haha. Good job. You found a really good player.”
“Even I could feel my ten year old congestion flush itself out of my body. That final driver shot was really amazing.”
“Ah yes, thank you very much.”
Hwang Joon Yul quickly bowed his head.
He needed to tell him now. If the Chairman hears about it from someone else, he might even be misunderstood as having hidden the truth.
But the Chairman’s expression was really bright. He must be really happy right now.
Chairman Jung Man Yong was known as a, ‘Feelings guy.’ If he said the right things, it might end up going well. He might be able to turn this terrible situation around.
No, he needed to go one step further than that. He needed to emphasize that it was him who had fired Kang Hwi Ram up to do so well.
If you think about it, that’s how the contract was set.
“I made a bet with that punk. I think that he was able to get a good score because he was fired up about it.”
“We set it up that he would get extra sponsorship money if he finished the qualifications in first place or set a new record……”
Hwang Joon Yul accurately explained the set up of the contract.
His heart was beating fast. It was because the contract price was too high for an amateur.
That was why he decided to add one last sentence at the end.
“I’m sorry. I wanted to do my friend a favor……”
“Puhaha. So that’s how it was. Good. Good.”
Chairman Jung Man Yong suddenly started to laugh really loudly.
Thanks to that, Hwang Joon Yul started to relax as well. It felt like things were going well.
But the problem was what came after that. Chairman Jung Man Yong’s continued words made Hwang Joon Yul fall into despair.
“I have a feeling he is going to swallow the whole PGA. No matter what, you must get him to sign with us for at least 5 years. Since you did him a favor this time, isn’t it time for him to return the favor?”
Hwang Joon Yul started to feel nauseous at the word, ‘Favor.’ Kang Hwi Ram probably has the phrase, ‘Bitter enemy,’ in his head.
Hwang Joon Yul wanted to cry as he bowed to Jung Man Yong.
“At least 5 years. How am I supposed to convince that bastard?”
WE ARE OFFICIALLY HALF WAY DONE WITH THE SERIES! The author just ended the novel at 190 the other day so 95 more to go!
Sponsor chapters are now open for Royal Roader! If you would like to support my translation and want more chapters released quickly, please help out! Thank you all in advance 🙂
PS For those of you wanting golf to be gone…chapter 96 returns us to the RR world.
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Borderline Masochist