Choi Finishes Third in Masters

Choi Kyung JuApril 12: Korea’s Choi Kyung-ju showed his Major pedigree at the Masters on Sunday by finishing third at Augusta National, three shots behind winner Phil Mickelson.

The Asian stalwart produced a memorable back nine charge in a glorious final round at the year’s first Major en route to a three-under-par 69 which gave him a total of six-under-par 282.

Starting the final day three shots off the lead, Choi bogeyed the seventh and ninth to fall off the pace but then went on to shoot an eagle two, and three birdies for an inward 31. His fightback started on the 11th, the first of three holes around Amen Corner, when he drilled a superb five-iron from 220 yards out that found the bottom of the cup.

He later birdied the 13th to trail then leader and playing partner Ernie Els and Mickleson by two strokes and although he birdied 14th and 16th, Mickelson surged home to win his first Major by one stroke ahead of Els.

“It was very exciting,” said Choi, who believes he has the game to win the Masters. “It was a good tournament for me and I get to come back next year.”

It was certainly a memorable Masters for the Korean, who only touched a golf club at the age of 16. In the second round, he shot an outward 30 on the second day, which was only the third time it was achieved in the Masters. His eagle at the 11th hole on Sunday was also only the third in Masters history at that hole.

Mickelson drained an 18-foot birdie at the last hole for a 69 to clinch the title ahead of Els, who shot a final round 67.

Asian Tour star Zhang Lian-wei, the first Chinese player to feature at the Masters, missed the cut by one stroke on Friday after rounds of 77 and 72.