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K. J. Choi at Top Third with 7-Under

Posted May. 02, 2003 22:23,   


K. J. Choi got off to a strong start toward defending his champion title.

The first round of the US PGA Tour HP Classic got started yesterday at the English Turn Country Club in Louisiana, USA. Choi recorded 7-under 65, one stroke behind the leading two players.

Each pro golfer has his or her favorite field. English Turn, where he first won the PGA title as a South Korean golfer, is the right place for Choi.

Choi hit fourteen driving shots, which on average flew 293 yards. Ten of them accurately landed on the fairway. In addition, his iron shots missed the green only twice. In short, he is showing the best performance.

Furthermore, his "marching" putting snatched up nine birdies, without any bogey, by the end of the seventeenth hole. His powerful opponents Pil Mickelson and Charles Howell III could not deter Choi`s marching.

The only mistake came in the hole 18, where Choi made a double bogey. His second shot from the bunker bounced off the bunker edge to the rough, and third one landed on the bunker right to the green. He also failed to make the less than 1 m bogey-putting into the cup.

Choi later commented, "It`s better to have that mistake in the first round. I learned a lesson. When I wake up tomorrow, I will be a better player," indicating how determined he is toward defending his champion title.

David Love III will pose the greatest "threat" to Choi. Love has already won three championships this season, and got ranked at third with Choi with eight birdies.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com