Choi wins Hend 5th in Korea

BY Asian Tour | 07 Oct 2012

Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, October 7: Asian Tour honorary member K.J Choi of Korea savoured the winning feeling all over again when he completed an energy-sapping week with a closing four-under-par 67 to win the CJ Invitational Hosted by KJ Choi on Sunday.

Well known for his dedication to charitable causes, Choi will once again donate his total winnings of US$118, 875 to his KJ Choi Foundation, just like what he did with his victory last year.

Choi, the tournament host, walked away with the title for the second consecutive year with a winning total of 15-under-par 269.

“I’ve always said that this tournament is all about giving back to the community and that’s what I’m going to do with my winnings. I’ll never be where I’m today if not for golf and the great support from everyone,” said Choi.

Korea’s Bae Sang-moon, who was piling the pressure on Choi until a bogey-six on the 14th hole dented his confidence, had to settle for a share of second place with compatriot Jang Dong-kyu on 271.

Korea’s Kim Dae-hyun, who shared the third round lead with Choi, signed for a 71 to take fourth place while Australia’s Scott Hend and seven-time Asian Tour winner, Charlie Wi of Korea took a share of fifth place after they closed with matching 70s for a 274 total.

Hend earned $28,000 for his effort and moves to 8th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil’s putting touch deserted him on the final day and he finished in seventh place, six shots back of Choi at the US$750,000 which is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour.

After heavy fog had caused much delay to play over the last two days, Choi had to return in the morning to complete his remaining nine holes for his third round.

The Asian Tour honorary member was still trying to find the rhythm in his game as he marked his inward-nine with one bogey and one birdie.

“I was starting to warm up when I came back in the morning to complete my third round. But once I got through those nine holes, three key elements came back into my game- see, feel and trust,” said Choi.

After taking a 15-minute break between rounds, Choi came out strongly with two birdies in his opening four holes.

He dropped a shot on the ninth but demonstrated the composure and experience of a champion by answering back with a hat-trick of birdies starting from the 11th hole.

Choi then parred the rest of his holes coming home to seal his sixth Asian Tour victory.

“I could see, feel and trust every aspect of my ball striking as well as putting and from then on, I was really confident that I would go on and win,” said the Korean superstar.

Hend, meanwhile believes that he is returning to his best form with his performance at the CJ Invitational this week.

“I’ve good vibes about what’s going on and my best is not far away,” said Hend.

A pivotal moment in his round came at the 12th and 13th holes when his eagle-two and birdie hauled him back into contention.

However, back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes put paid to his hopes of a comeback although the Australian did salvage his round with a closing birdie on the 18th hole.

“I thought I could make a comeback but made two soft bogeys there and that’s golf. You’re cruising along and it feels like you’re doing ok and suddenly you get smashed and you’ve to get back and have a go again,” said the Australian.

Chinnarat had high hopes coming into the final round after he took the second round lead and trailed Choi and Kim by one heading into the final round.

But three bogeys in his last seven holes saw him lose ground with Choi and prolonged his wait for his fourth Asian Tour title.

“Today, my putting was no good. I just could not putt like the last three days. But it’s okay, I’m happy with another top-10 finish,” said the 23-year-old Thai.

CJ Group, Korea’s food-to-entertainment conglomerate, has a three-year agreement to title sponsor the tournament which will be beamed live on the Asian Tour’s global television platform which reaches over 200 countries and 650 million homes. It will also be broadcast on KBS and J-Golf channel.

Scores after round 4 of the CJ Invitational Hosted by K.J. CHOI being played at the par 71, 7152 Yards Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club course (a- denotes amateur):
269 – K.J. CHOI (KOR) 69-65-68-67.
271 – JANG Dong-kyu (KOR) 68-71-65-67, BAE Sang-moon (KOR) 69-68-66-68.
273 – KIM Dae-hyun (KOR) 71-65-66-71.
274 – Scott HEND (AUS) 69-69-66-70, Charlie WI (KOR) 67-70-67-70.
275 – Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 68-64-71-72.
276 – Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 70-70-68-68.
277 – KIM Meen-whee (KOR) 69-67-69-72, Ryan YIP (CAN) 64-71-70-72.
278 – PARK Hyun-bin (KOR) 67-74-67-70, LEE Dong-hwan (KOR) 66-72-65-75, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 68-69-70-71, KIM Woo-chan (KOR) 73-72-67-66.

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