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Choi again had chance

South Korean couldn't match playing partner

Monday, April 11, 2011


K.J. Choi's family says the Masters Tournament is the major the South Korean star wants to win most.

K.J. Choi tosses his putter after missing a putt on the fifth green Sunday. He shot a final-round 72 to secure a return to the Masters. (Jackie Ricciardi/Staff)

Choi was in the hunt once again on the final nine Sunday, but he couldn't keep pace with playing partner and eventual champion Charl Schwartzel, as three bogeys led to an even-par 72.

Choi had his third top-10 Masters finish -- tying for eighth with an 8-under par 280, six shots behind Schwartzel.

His entire family walked along on the final nine, rooting Choi on.

His 13-year-old son, David, watched intently, while younger son, Daniel, 7, was eating ice cream. His daughter, Amanda, 9, walked hand-in-hand with her mother, wearing a Masters hat signed by her father.

Choi was briefly tied for the lead at 10-under with three others after Rory McIlroy carded a seven on the par-4 10th hole. But a bogey at No. 12 dropped Choi a stroke back.

Choi's wife, Kim, watched nervously on the 15th green as his eagle attempt rolled to within three feet of the hole.

"I get so nervous watching him that I get really thirsty," Kim Choi said. "This is the most important tournament for him. We bring the whole family every year. It would be a great honor to win the green jacket."

Choi has come close before, finishing third in 2004 and tied for fourth last year.

His birdie on the 15th brought him within two shots of the leaders. But Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to grab the green jacket.

"I felt like I had a chance after the 15th, but then I had a bad shot on No. 17," Choi said through an interpreter. "But Charl was so good today, it was his tournament to win.

"I've been so close to winning and I'm getting better. It seems so near. It was a good experience and I'm looking forward to next year."

As a top-16 finisher, Choi has already punched his ticket for another opportunity to don the green jacket in 2012.

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