Photo - Asian Tour
CHOI STAYS IN TITLE HUNT AT US OPEN
Pebble Beach, California: If Korea’s K.J. Choi can somehow avoid poor starts to his round over the US Open weekend, he is confident of having another run at a first career Major title.
The Asian Tour honorary member stayed in the hunt at Pebble Beach Golf Links despite a two-over-par 73, which was marred by a disappointing outward 40 where he shot two bogeys and one double.
But the seven-time PGA Tour winner battled back with successive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes to end the day at one-over-par 143 in tied 10th place, four shots behind new leader Graeme McDowell.
Young countryman Noh Seung-yul, currently second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, shot a 72 to make the halfway cut in what is his Major debut. He carded four birdies against five bogeys to lie in equal 26th place with amongst others, Vijay Singh of Fiji, also an Asian Tour honorary member.
Weshman Rhys Davies improved by eight shots from his opening round’s effort as a 70 put him in tied 48th position while reigning Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee will also play the weekend rounds after adding a 75 to his opening 74 to lie in tied 59th place.
Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita also made the halfway cut despite a 77 to lie alongside Thongchai.
Choi, who finished top-10 at the Masters Tournament in April, is happy to be within striking distance of the leader. “It might be better that I am in this position going into the weekend. That way, I can chase the other players. It might end up being better for me,” said the Korean strongman.
“I have been through many Majors but I just play as I go. For some reason, I feel good this week and you never know what can happen. I’m looking forward to it.”
Choi, who is currently fourth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, was delighted to see a strong representation of the region’s players in the weekend rounds. “As they are playing on the global stage, they are not only proving their talent but giving themselves opportunities to play and this will definitely contribute to the overall development of Asian players,” said Choi.
Thongchai, who made his debut at the US Open in 2001, grinded his way through Pebble Beach. His day included a spectacular eagle on the par four, third hole when he holed his approach shot from the fairway. He said his game plan for the weekend would be to “aim for fairways and greens.”
Fujita was delighted with his progress. “It’s a good thing to make the cut. I will try to enjoy playing in the US Open,” said the veteran.
However, there was disappointment for India’s Arjun Atwal, who missed the cut by one shot after shooting a second straight 75. Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Korea’s Y.E. Yang and Terry Pilkadaris of Australia also missed the cut.