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[Golf] K.J. Choi Wins LG Skins Game

Posted December. 02, 2008 03:38,   


Golfer Fred Couples earned the nickname “Mr. Skins” because of his dominance in the event -- he has won five titles since the tournament began in 1986.

Yesterday belonged to K.J. Choi, however, who wrote a new chapter in Korean golf by becoming the first Korean to claim the LG Skins Game.

Choi won 340,000 U.S. dollars in the ninth hole of the second round at Indian Wells Golf Resort (par 72) in California, with combined earnings of 415,000 dollars.

The Skins Game is a major PGA golf tournament that has seen the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods compete. The LG Group of Korea became the event’s sponsor in 2006.

The game involves 18 holes over two days with prize money of 25,000 dollars each for the first to sixth holes, 50,000 dollars each for the seventh to 12th, 70,000 dollars each from the 13th to 17th, and 200,000 dollars each for the 18th hole.

Choi, who began the second round tied for the lead with 75,000 dollars, added 70,000 dollars with an eagle on the 14th (par five), but stumbled on the 17th. His prize money ranking dropped to third.

The “Tank” did not hurry, however. He regained his focus and sank a 3.3-meter birdie putt on the 18th, which was worth 270,000 dollars because of no winner on the 17th (par four).

Stephen Ames of Canada, who was vying for his third Skins title, missed a birdie putt to finish second with 250,000 dollars. Phil Mickelson placed third with 195,000 dollars and Rocco Mediate fourth with 140,000 dollars.

Choi said, “I wanted to join the game while watching it on TV, and I’m proud I won this. I didn’t have enough information on the course, but practicing my short game was helpful.”

The Skins winner must donate 20 percent of the prize money to a charity of his choice. Choi selected the K.J. Choi Charity Foundation, which marks its first anniversary this year.

He also won an LCD TV, home theater system and refrigerators worth 25,000 dollars combined.

Starting the year with a win at January’s Sony Open in Hawaii, Choi left a strong final impression with the Skins title to end the season, though it is an unofficial tournament.