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Rising Tank, Falling Emperor

Posted February. 23, 2003 22:25,   


“I see the top.”

The ‘Tank’ Choi Kyung-ju (33 Superior Tailor-made) has raise himself over past three days and heading for the top rank.

On 23rd February, the third round of the Nissan-open U.S. PGA Tour (Total prize of 4.5 million dollars.) was held in the Riviera Country Club (par 71) near Los Angeles city. Previous day, Choi has completed the second round of the match with joint 5th rank, which was a raise from his first joint 12 rank. He scored five birdies, a boogie and lowered his par by four shot. In current total, he has gained single 3rd rank with seven under par score.

Choi was closing on top leading Charles Howell III (age 24) by four shots and second ranking Nick Price (age 46, Zimbabwe) by mere one shot.

“Putting was great. Driver and iron shots have scored well too. Efforts to minimize the club head movement in the top swing have shown effect,” says satisfied Choi. What he means is that special lessons to correct his swing by his teacher, Phil Lizton have worked well.

Choi is competing in the champion group in the fourth round for the second time, since the Mercedes Championship in the beginning of the year. He is grouped together with rookie Howell and veteran Price to compete for the finals on 24th, 3:40a.m.

Choi has shaken off his slump from recent three matches, where he was disqualified twice from the cutoffs. He showed stable putting play with his new exclusive caddy, Poll Huscoe. In his latest match, Choi scored minimum 26 putting shots and cleaned his scoreboard. Also average driver range of 306 yards with 72% Green accuracy are secret to his success.

Choi began smoothly with a birdie in the No.1 hole (par5) and with accurate putting he caught birdies in the No. 6 (par3), 10 (par4) and 11 (par5). However he made an error in the No.15 hole (par 4) and lost a shot. But he made up for it in the No. 18 hole (par3) with 4.5m-distance putting which earned him a birdie and completed the game.

Tiger Woods, who aimed for second consecutive week victory, has suffered putting difficulties. He scored five birdies, five boogies, a double boogie with two over par. In current total, he scored an even par, which led him to joint 28 ranks. For past his five participations in the Nissan-open, he failed to stand out. Now with him 11 shots behind the lead, his chance for victory was virtually gone and his jinx repeated. This is the second time for Woods to hit over par since 1999. This is his first match to have 11 shots behind the lead since last May`s Memorial Day match.

Woods showed unstable play as he hit a tee shot over the parking lot in his No.1

“If I don`t get a birdie in the No. 18 hole by the end of the day, I`m going to carry the caddy bag myself,” said Woods to his exclusive caddy, Steve Williams. Luckily he reduced a shot in last hole and saved his face.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com