The 31-year-old is back competing this week after two years serving in the South Korean military

Sang-Moon Bae Returns After Two Year Military Service

Sang-Moon Bae makes his long-awaited return to professional golf this week after serving a 21-month military service in South Korea.

All able-bodied South Koreans aged 18-31 must complete military service in their home country. The 31-year-old was serving as a rifleman.

He tees it up this week in the Donghae Open, an event he has won twice, co-sanctioned on the Korean and Asian Tour where he stands at three over par after day one.

Related: Why are South Koreans so good at golf?

Bae will return to the PGA Tour after the Playoffs thanks to an exemption from the Tour.

The two-time PGA Tour winner has full playing rights for the 2017-18 season, which begins in the first week of October at the Safeway Open.

Sang-Moon Bae returns

Sang-Moon Bae with the Open trophy in 2014

“I want to thank the PGA Tour for allowing me to retain my membership and I feel fortunate for its consideration,” he said.

“If I’d had no exemption, I would have to enter the Tour. But since I don’t have to, I feel more comfortable and can play the tournament with confidence.”

Bae won the 2013 Byron Nelson Championship before wrapping up his second PGA Tour title a year later at the Open.

He won just shy of $2.6m in 2015 and played in the Presidents Cup in his home country before his military service began in November.

Sang-Moon Bae returns why are south koreans so good at golf

Sand-Moon Bae claimed a maiden PGA Tour title at the Byron Nelson Championship in 2013

He said, “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,” he said. “I’m very happy to be back.

“I thought only about getting discharged when I was in the military.”

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