Sangmoon Bae, months after return from two-year military stint, wins Boise Open to regain PGA Tour card

September 16, 2018
Albertsons Boise Open - Final Round

Steve Dykes

Sangmoon Bae's return to the PGA Tour this season did not go as planned, finishing 202nd in the FedEx Cup standings to lose his PGA Tour card. Luckily for Bae, following a short detour to the Tour Finals, he'll be back on the big stage in 2019. With a birdie on the final hole at Hillcrest Country Club, Bae won the Albertsons Boise Open to regain his PGA Tour card.

Golf fans may remember the plight of Bae at the end of 2015. He had turned in the best season of his professional career, winning the (now Safeway) Open, accumulating nearly $2.6 million in earnings and competing for the International Team at the Presidents Cup, held in his native country of South Korea. However, Bae's homeland requires all males 18-to-35 to complete a two-year military commitment. After losing a court battle seeking a wavier, Bae was forced to set aside the sport for service.

Bae returned to golf last fall, and played on tour with full status for the 2017-18 season through a Family Crisis and Major Medical exemption. Unfortunately for Bae, the rust from the sabbatical was clear. He made just five cuts in 17 starts, with a lone top-25 finish. Worst, the 32-year-old battled a wrist injury throughout the summer, hampering his comeback.

But he showed signs of life in the second playoff event, posting a T-6 at the DAP Championship. Bae enjoyed his breakthrough in Idaho this week, firing rounds of 65, 67, 67 and 66 to take the title.

With in the win, Bae becomes the Tour Finals' money leader. If he finishes in first, he earns full exempt status for 2019, as well as a spot in the 2019 Players Championship.

The circuit finishes up next week with the Tour Championship at Atlantic Beach Country Club in Florida.