Choi Is One Happy Host

Sun 23 Oct 2011

Choi Is One Happy Host


Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, October 23: Korean star K.J. Choi claimed a convincing two-stroke victory in his own tournament, the inaugural CJ Invitational after closing with a five-under-par 67 on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Choi overcame an overnight three-shot deficit with an outward 34 before taking a firm grip of the US$750,000 tournament, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour, with three birdies on the homeward nine in front of large galleries at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club.

Asian Tour number one Noh Seung-yul of Korea put up a strong fight before settling for second place following a final round 66 while American star Anthony Kim and overnight leader Lee Ki-sang of Korea settled for a share of third place following rounds of 73 and 74 respectively.

It was Choi’s second victory of the season following his triumph in the Players Championship in the United States and his fifth career title on the Asian Tour where he is an Honorary Member.

“This week, I had so much things going on. I didn’t really think about the win. I was busy looking after the players and taking care of the sponsors. Probably the fact that I wasn’t thinking about the tournament helped me feel at ease. The way it turned out, I’m happy to be the inaugural champion and even though I am hosting this event, it gives a special meaning,” said Choi, who totaled 17-under-par 271 and pocketed US$118,875.

After tying a faltering Lee at the turn with three straight birdies from the third hole against one dropped shot, Choi surged into the lead with a four-foot birdie on 10 but had to make two crucial par saves on 11 and 15 to preserve his advantage. He then opened up a two-shot cushion with a superb 20-feet curling putt on 16 which he held on till the end despite a late challenge from Noh.


“I’m so happy. We were very successful and this was a first-class tournament in Asia,” said Choi, who is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour.

“That putt on 15 (for par), the pin has been in the middle all week. I knew the speed. I just hit it two feet inside and made it. It was very exciting. This first CJ Invitational and winning this, I’m very proud.”

The 20-year-old Noh was near flawless as he charged up the leaderboard with six birdies but he failed to get the crucial putts to drop down the stretch as he settled for his best finish of the season.


I played very nice. But I missed a couple of good chances. I was one behind after my birdie on 14. I had good chances on the last four holes but just missed the putts. I had a good birdie chance from five feet on 18 and thought if I made the birdie, I would be one shot behind and it would make K.J. a bit nervous on the second shot into the last green but I missed the putt,” said Noh.

Three-time PGA Tour winner Kim never got his game firing on a day when the final round was delayed by two hours because of morning fog. After missing chances on the front nine, a double bogey on the ninth hole when he drove into the hazard put paid to his hopes of ending his two-year winless run.

“It was a tough day. I tried everything I could. The ball didn’t want to go into the hole. But K.J. played amazing. He made the putts when he needed to. Hats off to him,” said Kim.

“It really wasn’t nine (which stopped him). The putt on eight, if it went in, maybe the drive on nine would have been different. But it was a tough day overall. It was a great week and K.J. put on a great tournament and the fans came out and showed support. Hopefully I can come back next year and put on a better show,” said Kim.

CJ Group, Korea’s food-to-entertainment conglomerate, has a three-year agreement to title sponsor the tournament which was beamed live on the Asian Tour’s global television platform which reaches over 200 countries and 850 million homes. It was broadcasted on KBS and J-Golf channel.


Scores after round 4 of the CJ Invitational Hosted by KJ CHOI being played at the par 72, 7229 Yards Haesley Nine Bridges GC course (a- denotes amateur):

271 - K.J. CHOI (KOR) 67-70-67-67.

273 - NOH Seung-yul (KOR) 73-68-66-66.

275 - Anthony KIM (USA) 68-66-68-73, LEE Ki-sang (KOR) 70-67-64-74.

276 - RYU Hyun-woo (KOR) 73-69-67-67, PARK Eun-shin (KOR) 74-68-66-68, Scott HEND (AUS) 68-72-67-69.

277 - CHOI Jin-ho (KOR) 72-70-66-69, HAN Min-kyu (KOR) 71-69-67-70.

278 - KIM Seung-hyuk (KOR) 71-71-69-67, HWANG Jae-min-471 (KOR) 68-70-71-69, David OH (KOR) 68-69-69-72.

279 - Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 71-68-69-71, LEE Dong-hwan (KOR) 70-69-68-72, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 69-69-68-73.

About the K.J. Choi Foundation

K.J. Choi, one of the most successful golfers to come from Korea, did not want to stop with his own personal success, but felt a strong social responsibility to give back to society and realized he needed a reliable means of doing so. Joining together with other community leaders in Korea who share the common idea, he established the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2007 for this purpose. K.J. Choi Foundation conducts major charitable projects for those who are faced in hopeless situations in Korean domestic and International communities. The Foundation especially focuses in the support of underprivileged children by lovingly providing welfare services and professional help, thus providing young people with hopes and dreams. K.J. Choi also works closely with many community leaders to help support junior golfers in difficult financial and environmental situations fulfil their dreams through his junior golf program, K.J. Choi Dream Team. K.J. Choi Foundation’s vision is to be a community leader that provides hope and happiness for all, and its purpose is to be a Foundation for everyone.

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Royal Selangor (Official Trophy Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Mobile) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

About KGT

KGT is the governing body and representative group for Korean professional golfers. In this function it organizes, stages and sanctions tournaments for professional golfers in Korea. KGT holds more than 20 events each year. It aims to be one of the five major golf tours worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with other Tours through close cooperation around the world.