A fairy-tale ending for Choi
Twenty years separated two images of Jack Nicklaus, both meaningful in their own way to K.J. Choi.
Nicklaus was the champion who filled every page of a pictorial instruction book that Choi studied religiously as a teenager in South Korea.
"As I started reading it, I could understand why he was such a great golfer, because all the things that were written really started to make sense," Choi said. "That's how I really got into golf, by reading the book."
Nicklaus was the Memorial tournament host who stood behind the 18th green yesterday afternoon with a proud smile and hearty handshake for Choi, who closed with a 7-under-par 65 for a one-shot victory over Ryan Moore. Indeed, it was a textbook performance.
Choi finished off his string of four birdies on the front nine in Dublin, Ohio, with a 7-iron he carved around the trees lining the right side of the ninth fairway into 8 feet.
"A cut shot, Jack-style," Choi said with a laugh.
Then came a series of pars that were equally significant, all made with clutch putts, en route to his fifth victory on the Tour.
"I just feel very honored and very happy to be living in the same time as Jack is living, and to win his tournament is so meaningful to me," Choi said.
Rod Pampling had a three-shot lead going into the final round, which was delayed an hour in the morning when rain pounded Muirfield Village. He made a late bid with a 30-foot eagle putt on 16 to get within one shot, then fired his approach on the 17th over the green and into the gallery, taking bogey. He wound up with a 72 and tied for third with Kenny Perry (63).
LPGA -- Nicole Castrale chased down the world's No. 1 player for her first Tour victory, beating Lorena Ochoa with a par on the first hole of a playoff in the Ginn Tribute in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Castrale closed with a 1-under 71 to match Ochoa (74) at 9-under 279.
Ochoa, 0 for 4 in playoffs, was up by six shots Saturday and was still ahead by two shots with three holes to play yesterday. However, bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes dropped the Mexican star into a tie and a wayward tee shot into a marsh on the playoff hole, the 18th, cost her the title.
Champions -- Loren Roberts won the
Nationwide -- John Riegger won the LaSalle Bank Open in Glenview, Ill., for his first title, holing a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 4-under 68 (17-under 271) and a one-stroke victory over B.J. Staten. Brookline's James Driscoll shot 70--276 to fall into a tie for ninth.
European -- Richard Sterne made a 7-foot putt on the final hole to win the Wales Open in Newport after Bradley Dredge missed a 5-footer that would have forced a playoff.
Sterne (65) finished at 13-under 263. Dredge (67), Mardan Mamat (62), Soren Kjeldsen (65) and Mads Vibe-Hastrup (66) were a shot back.