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Photo - Asian Tour


Korean strongman K.J. Choi believes Asian stars can now win Major championships regularly as he prepares for a title assault at this week’s Masters Tournament, the year’s opening Major.
The Asian Tour honorary member, who finished third at Augusta National in 2004, was widely tipped to become the region’s first Major champion but countryman Y.E. Yang stole the thunder with a stunning victory over Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship last August.
But rather than turn green with envy, the in-form Choi feels his game is now “perfect” to launch another genuine challenge for the Masters title, which comes with the prestigious Green Jacket.
“I am very excited to be playing in my eighth consecutive Masters this year. The Masters is the major amongst the majors, and it gives me a sense of pride,” said Choi.
Like Yang, Choi will also need to gain the upperhand against world number one Woods as they have been paired together in the opening two rounds.
After falling off the world rankings last season, Choi has regained the kind of form which previously helped him win seven PGA Tour titles following two runner-up finishes at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Transition Championship in the US recently. He was also victorious on the Iskandar Johor Open on the Asian Tour last October.
Ultimately the long hours put in with coach Steve Bann and trainer Simon Webb have produced the much desired turnaround for the likeable Korean, who is currently third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
“The two second place finishes at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Transition Championship boosted me back into the top-50 and I was surprised that those finishes helped so much,” he said.
“My game feels real good at the moment and I have the perfect set up currently, so I am excited about playing.”
Choi added that Yang’s victory over Woods broke down all barriers for Asian golf.
“Yes, it has not only inspired me but other Asian players that winning a major for us is not just a dream but can be a reality,” he said.
With veteran caddie Andy Prodger on his bag, Choi feels right at home at the fabled Augusta National course and hopes the positive vibes will rub off his game once more.
“The third place finish came unexpectedly and I was surprised too. But I think the course suits my game and I feel comfortable so I know what I need to do. I feel comfortable coming into the Masters and if I can have my short game to where it needs to be, then I feel like I can have a good week,” he said.
Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is also in the field this week where he is hoping to become the first Thai to play in all four rounds at the Masters Tournament.

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