Choi stays calm for victory
South Korean overcomes windy conditions in Hawaii
Last Updated: 14/01/08 11:28am
KJ Choi carded his worst round of the week but a one-over-par 71 in blustery conditions was enough to see him home by three shots in the Sony Open.
The South Korean had led after the first round and never relinquished the advantage to claim his seventh PGA tour title, holding off the final day charge of Rory Sabbatini.
The South African started the day six shots back but two early birdies got him going while Choi's defensive tactics in the wind brought him nothing but dropped shots at the fourth and 13th.
However, a double bogey at the eighth stopped Sabbatini in his tracks and despite three birdies in the next five holes Choi's healthy lead was never seriously threatened.
A closing birdie at the par-five 18th restored a three-shot advantage as Choi maintained his stellar record of never losing a tournament after leading going into the final round.
The victory takes Choi to a career-high seventh in the world rankings but he is aiming for even bigger things in the future.
"It has a lot of implications," he said. "I think the biggest thing I learned this week is no matter what the conditions are out there, you have to stay patient with yourself.
"This experience in Hawaii is going to help me prepare for the major tournaments that are coming up because in those tournaments you have to be patient. You can't get too greedy.
"You have to accept the conditions as they are and I think it's going to help me prepare mentally for the major tournaments.
"I've been playing in the Masters the past few years and, for some reason, I don't know why, but it just makes me feel very comfortable being there.
"For some reason, maybe it's because I came close to winning the Masters, my heart is really with the Masters. I have tremendous respect for that golf course and the tournament."
Former winner Jerry Kelly once again showed his liking for the Waialae course with a 67 - one of just eight sub-par rounds on the final day - to vault him into clear third place on 10-under.
Steve Stricker, Pat Perez, Steve Marino and Kevin Na claimed a share of fourth place a further shot back.