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Cameras Annoy K.J. Choi

Posted March. 14, 2008 03:05,   


Most golfers try hard to make a birdie on the ninth hole of the Pinx Golf Club, as the course is not tricky. They aim to reduce one stroke here and hope to play well on the remaining nine holes.

‘Tank’ K.J. Choi (38, Nike Golf) also aimed for a birdie on the ninth hole. He, however, bogeyed the hole because when he hit the third shot with the pin 100 yards away, some of the galleries pressed the shutter to take a picture of him. The result was a fried egg bunker shot as he hit the wrong side of the ball.

He stared at his fans for a while, and some put their cameras back into their pockets. Although he put his fourth shot on the green, his 2.5-meter putt failed to touch the cup.

World No. 5 K.J. Choi had five birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey to finish with a one-under-par 71. He tied for the 41st place as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

A fine opening score of five-under-par 67 saw Mikko Ilonen of Finland take the early lead in the first round of the Ballantine’s Championship held in Seogwipo, Jeju on Thursday.

Although the Korean golfer played in the weekday afternoon, some 300 fans flocked to watch his performance. His start was not bad as he shot a two-under-par. But he bogeyed on the seventh hole. He lost two strokes after he got a penalty stroke with his second shot flown into the bush. The ball was called unplayable.

Choi said, “The fact that they took a picture when I swung shows how much they like me. I understand them but for the globalization (of Korea’s golf) I wish they could control themselves.”

Anthony Kim, a Korean-American golfer who was in the same group with Choi, finished in the second place with his four-under-par 68 play. He got four birdies without a bogey.

Meanwhile, the poor management of the game caused confusion among the galleries who were not sure where they should go and even the scoreboards sometimes showed wrong figures.