Bae makes return to tournament golf after 2-year army duty

Sangmoon Bae lines up his putt the 2015 Presidents Cup tournament. (Lee Jin-man/AP)

INCHEON, Korea, Republic Of — Former PGA Tour winner Sangmoon Bae has put his rifle away and replaced it with his golf clubs to play in his professional tournament in more than two years.

Bae, whose last pro tournament was at the 2015 Presidents Cup in his native South Korea, will begin play Thursday in the Donghae Open. He was discharged from compulsory military service in August.

A three-time Asian Tour winner, Bae spent almost two years as a rifleman in the South Korean army.

Bae, who won the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship in 2013 and the Open in 2014, says he’s driving the ball further because of his weight and physical training in the army.

Bae says: "I remembered vividly my first time hitting the golf ball again after about five or six months in the army … every minute was so precious and I really treasured each time when I was out on the golf course or at the driving range. I’m very happy to be back.’

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