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Spotlight is not too bright for Choi

Sunday, April 10, 2011

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After being paired with Tiger Woods in all four rounds of last year's Masters Tournament, South Korea's K.J. Choi is comfortable in the Augusta spotlight.

K.J. Choi reacts to a missed birdie putt on No. 14 during Saturday's third round of the Masters. Choi had a 1-under 71 that left him a 8-under for the tournment and in a four-way tie for second, four shots behind Rory McIlroy. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff)

Choi played with Woods again Saturday, and though he didn't have his best round, Choi kept himself in the hunt with 1-under-par 71.

Choi is tied for second at 8-under with three other players, trailing leader Rory McIlroy by four strokes.

"I did enjoy the pressure today," said Choi, who finished tied for fourth last year. "You know, 8-under, I'm happy about where I am. I think I'm in good position going into (today), and you never know what can happen on the final day. So I'm looking forward to it."

Choi went out in 34 with birdies on the par-5 second and eighth holes and the par-4 ninth.

The biggest shot of the round came on the seventh hole, when he saved par by draining a putt of about 40 feet from just off the green.

"I hit it; I saw the ball go downhill," Choi said through an interpreter. "It was going pretty fast and I just said to myself ... it would be good if it just hit the pin. It went in, and I think that was the turning point of my round today."

Choi's putter sputtered a bit on the back nine as he missed short par putts on Nos. 11 and 12. He rallied with a birdie on No. 13 and made par on the last five holes.

"I started out good today," said Choi, whose best Masters finish was third in 2004. "But in the back nine a lot of the three- and four-foot putts, I misread and made bogey."

With seven PGA Tour victories, Choi is accustomed to the pressure of being in contention on Sunday. But what will it take to break through and win his first major?

"Regarding the pressure, it's going to be the same, even when you compare it to other majors," Choi said. "The key thing is to stay calm, stay patient and just try your best, take it hole by hole."

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