Golf: South Korea's Bae Sang Moon back in the swing of things at the Shinhan Donghae Open with conscription over

Bae Sang Moon will make a comeback at the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Asian Tour.
Bae Sang Moon will make a comeback at the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Asian Tour.PHOTO: REUTERS

Seoul (AFP) - South Korean golfer Bae Sang Moon has been trying to rediscover his feel for the game ahead of his long-awaited return this week following mandatory military service, he said on Wednesday.

The two-time PGA Tour winner will make a comeback to the sport at the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Asian Tour, which tees off in Incheon on Thursday.

Bae played his last professional event in October 2015, when he represented the international team at the Presidents Cup.

Military service is compulsory for all able-bodied South Korean males, and Bae was discharged last month after 21 months in uniform, an experience he said had helped improve his mental strength.

But he added: "It would be a lie if I said I don't feel the impact from the vacuum of military service."

He had put himself through a rigorous training routine to prepare for his competitive comeback, focusing on "enhancing my feeling for golf", he told journalists.

Bae, also a three-time Asian Tour winner, said he felt "very happy while playing warmup rounds", but added: "I myself wonder how well I may fare this time."

Asked what he wanted to do most while in the military, he answered, to laughter: "From the day when I was a private second class, a private first class and even the last day of the service, I wanted to be discharged from the military."

"I wanted to play in tournaments, I wanted to sleep at home and I wanted to drive," he said.

Bae plans to return to the PGA Tour next month, which granted him a rare extension of his Tour card.

The Shinhan Donghae Open will be packed with star players including top Japan Golf Tour prize winner Kim Chan and 2015 Japan Golf Tour top prize money winner Kim Kyung Tae.

American David Lipsky will be playing in Korea for the first time in four years, and will be seeking to return to the top of the Order of Merit after being dislodged by Australia's Scott Hend over the weekend.