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Overly Stressed Choi, Kyung-Joo Hit a Miss Shot

Posted January. 13, 2003 22:54,   


The `Tank` Choi, Kyung-Joo (Superior, Talyormade) stayed at an inconvenient runner-up due to a `course record jinx.`

It was the final 4th round of this year`s PGA tour season opener, the Mercedes Championship (total prize money of 5 million dollars) held at the Kapalua Plantation Course (par 73, 7263 yards) in Hawaii on the 13th.

Choi, Kyung-Joo could not break the jinx that `the player who set a course record was dull next day` and should be satisfied with the tie in the second place (23 under par, 269 shots) with just even par of 73 shots with 3 birdies and 3 bogeys.

However, he played relatively well in a major class championship, which only the 36 champions of last year`s tour championships participated, and made a bright prediction possible for this season.

However, Ernie Els (Republic of South Africa), who played in the same group with Choi, grabbed the championship bonus of one million dollars by hitting the PGA least shot record in 72 holes, 31 under par 261 shots (existing record was 29 under par set by Joe Durant, 2001 Bob Hope Classic).

Choi, Kyung-Joo, who could not reduce a shot in the first 9 holes, made consecutive birdies in the 10th and 11th holes and trailed Ells by just one shot.

However, while Choi, Kyung-Joo was destroying himself with consecutive bogies in the 13th and 14th holes, Ells ran away out of the chase. Choi, Kyung-Joo, who lost his concentration with a bogie in the 13th hole with 3 puts, made the third bogie in the 14th hole with another 3 puts in 7m.

Els, who got comfortable after that, fully showed his dignity of 10 PGA Tour wins including 3 majors, made 3 consecutive birdies from the 14th hole, and got the championship.

With the win, Ells released the tough loss in extra holes to Tiger Woods (America) in 2000 and the grief of come from behind loss to Jim Purik (America) after starting the final round as a leader in 2001.

Choi, Kyung-Joo and Ells will play again in the second championship of the season, the Sony Open (total prize money of 5 million dollars) held at the Waialei Country Club (par 70) in Honolulu, Hawaii on the 16th.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com