Choi contends, finishes T4 at Masters
South Korea’s K.J Choi has emphatically announced his return to top level form with a stellar performance in the final round of the 2010 Augusta Masters to finish T4.
Choi was tied for the lead heading into the business end of Sunday’s final round, however consecutive bogeys at the 13th and 14th holes put paid to his chances. Still, Choi has plenty to be proud of, having demonstrated that he is once again playing the kind of golf that saw him become a world top 10 ranked player earlier in his career. He has recently played his way out of a slump and his results have been very impressive already this year, having finished 2nd at the Transitions Championship and making the cut in every event he has entered.
Choi had the unique distinction of playing all 4 days at Augusta National with Tiger Woods, and contrary to many people’s expectations prior to the tournament that his game would suffer due to the distraction, Choi reveled in the spotlight and matched the world number 1 blow for blow. He might have come up a little short in his title challenge (eventually finishing 5 shots behind champion Phil Mickelson) however Choi will surely take many positives out of this week:
“I’m satisfied and it was gratifying for me this year and the fans were very supportive and just playing with Tiger for the last four days was a very good experience for me,” said Choi, who has previously won Tiger Woods’ event, the AT&T National.
The strongman from South Korea was trying to emulate the feat of his countryman Y.E Yang, who beat Woods at the PGA Championship last year to become the first Asian to win one of golf’s majors. Yang also finished inside the top 10 this year at Augusta, perhaps another sign of the growing influence of Asian golfers in the men’s game. Choi spoke about the increased belief amongst Korean and Asian players that they belong on the world stage:
“In the past … the mindset of the Asian players was that when it comes to the Masters, there was a fear factor there, that we can’t do it. Now I hope that this gives motivation for the younger players, other players, that they can do it at big tournaments like the Masters.”
His coach Steve Bann had been very pleased with the way K.J prepared for this year’s event, having spent a lot of time working on his short game and lag putting and trying to stay fresh by not playing too many practice rounds. “K.J has done a great job of balancing his practice routine to make sure his short game is sharp while his ball striking is the best I’ve seen it for quite some time” he said earlier in the week.
Choi’s game was certainly sharp for the best part of the tournament, and if he keeps playing this way it can’t be too long before he breaks through for his first major win.
Thanks to Pure Golf Blog for this article.