HONOLULU - A fast start and a strong finish gave K.J. Choi the round he was looking for yesterday in the
Choi got up-and-down from the bunker on the par-5 18th to cap off a 4-under-par 66 and double the size of his margin, taking a four-shot lead into the final round as he tries to become the first outright wire-to-wire winner at Waialae in eight years.
The only threat on a balmy day by the Pacific came from a rookie who wasn't even on course.
Tim Wilkinson, a lefthander from New Zealand playing in only his third PGA Tour event, birdied seven of his first 11 holes and finished with an 8-under 62 for the best round of the week. That left him four shots behind Choi, who sits at 15-under 195.
Kevin Na, who started the third round two shots behind, couldn't keep up with Choi's birdie-birdie start and only a pair of birdies on the final four holes left him in the mix. Na shot 69 and was at 10-under 210 with Stephen Marino (68).
Another shot back was a group that included Chad Campbell.
Wilkinson at least has experience with a decent crowd at Waialae. He played the first two rounds with 17-year-old island favorite Tadd Fujikawa, who missed the cut. Wilkinson said it sure beat his last few years on the Nationwide Tour.
"It's a lot of fun playing in front of people. You hit a good shot, you actually get applause," Wilkinson said.