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“Tank” Choi Closing In On First Victory of Season

Posted June. 06, 2004 22:21,   


Choi Kyung-joo, nicknamed “The Tank,” is about to win his first victory of this season.

In the 3rd round of the U.S. PGA Tour Memorial Tournament of the Murifield Village Golf Course (par 72, total prize $5,250,000) in Dublin Ohio, Choi had 4-under 68. He is at 10-under 206 so far, two shots behind Ernie Els (South Africa) at 12-under 204. If Choi makes a come-from-behind win, it will be his 3rd victory, after his 2nd win in 2002 Tampa Bay Classic 20 months ago.

Putting kept Choi on leader board (avg. 26.7 putts per round). His success rate to hit the green jumped from 61% in the first two days to 83% in the 3rd round, which enabled him to get 8 birdies.

However, it leaves a lot to be desired that he played too aggressive in 3rd round to make 4 bogeys. Especially he made 2 bogeys in par-5 holes, where he should have birdied to catch up with the leader.

On the other hand, once shared No. 4 with Choi in 2nd round, Els birdied 3 times out of 4 on par-5 holes. His skilled course play with 6 birdies and no bogeys on that day gave him a two-shot lead.

Putting skill and sense of iron shots in harmony with “self-control” will be the key to Choi’s first victory this year.

In the meantime, Tiger Woods, nicknamed “the Emperor of Golf,” had 5-under 67 in the 3rd round and ranked in 5th place (9-under 207). He is looking for a come-from-behind victory, which would be his 4th win at the Memorial.

In the 15th hole (par-3), Woods faced a crisis when his second shot with a 3-iron flew off the green to hit a spectator in the head and fell on the green of 16th hole. However, his amazing concentration made a birdie out of it.

The “Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus, who is supposed to retire after this tournament, was in 70th place (8-over 224). He made the cutoff the day before with a record of 3-over 147 (with the cutoff being 148) to be able to make a good career end.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com