Choi slips to 16th at British Open

July 21st, 2008 - 1:37 am ICT by IANS  

Southport (Britain), July 20 (IANS) South Korea’s K.J. Choi, bidding to become the first Asian to win a Major, had a heart-breaking final round though he had been in contention after three rounds. Choi, who was two off the lead after 54 holes, insisted he was closer than before in his goal to become Asia’s first Major champion. The World number 11 had a nightmarish front nine where he dropped six bogeys, including five in succession and that ended all his hopes.

Choi, a graduate of the Asian Tour, carded a nine-over-par 79, which included a calamitous quadruple bogey eight at his last hole, which dropped him from tied fourth into a share of 16th position on 13-over-par 293.

While disappointed that his challenge was blown off course on yet another wind-swept day, the US-based Choi still said, “What I gained from this week is that I’m closer towards my goal of winning a major. It was a very good experience, it’s not very far away.”

A bogey on the first hole, where he missed a putt from three feet, was the start of his early struggles. The 37-year-old dropped five bogeys in a row from the fourth and another on 11.

He rallied briefly with birdies on 16 and 17 before ending the day in disastrous fashion when he ran up an eight after sending his first tee shot out of bounds and then taking an unplayable lie off his third shot.

“I didn’t have any feel with my putting this weekend. In the windy conditions, I lost my feel. I’m happy but not the last hole where I made double par. My putting stroke was different than the first two rounds,” Choi lamented.

“I feel my game (on links courses) has improved this week and it was a good experience,” said Choi.

The South Korean, who was the halfway leader, set himself a target of shooting a level par round before heading off in the second last pairing of the final day. But it wasn’t to be.

“Level par would have won it for me. I tried to set this goal but I missed a short three feet putt for bogey on the first and then missed another two feet putt on the fourth and three putted the fifth. I couldn’t make the putts.

“I’ll look forward to the US PGA Championship (next month) now,” said Choi.

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