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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, October 29, 2006

Birdie on 18th hole keeps Choi in lead

Associated Press

K.J. Choi made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish the third round of the Chrysler Championship the same way he started, with a one-shot lead over Ernie Els and two others at Palm Harbor, Fla.

But it sure felt like a lifetime of work to keep it that way.

In a blustery round in which six players had at least a share of the lead, Choi overcame a few hiccups on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook for a 1-under 70 that left him one shot clear of Els (70), Brian Gay (70) and resurgent Paul Goydos (69), who was No. 160 on the money list and now has a chance to avoid Q-school.

Choi never made more than three pars in a row, and that was on the back nine when he was trying to hang on. He was at 9-under 204 and will try to win this tournament for the second time in five years.

"It was really tough, up and down," Choi said.

It was that way for everyone.

Els is in good shape to collect his first victory of the year, but it sure didn't seem that way when he started losing ground. He recovered with birdies on the par 5s on the back nine. Gay was three shots behind until birdies on two of the tougher holes at Innisbrook, Nos. 16 and 17, and a good save from below the slope on the 18th green to get into the final group.

Gay can't get into the Tour Championship, so all he cares about is getting his first PGA Tour victory.

The biggest surprise was the tour's hottest player, Troy Matteson. He started the day eight shots behind, was 5 under through his first five holes and wound up with a 64, leaving himself only two shots behind going into the final round.

This is the final full-event of the year, with players trying to finish in the top 30 on the money list to get into the Tour Championship, the top 40 for the Masters, or the top 125 to get their card for the 2007 FedExCup competition that starts next year.


Charles Schwab Cup Championship: Jim Thorpe parlayed four straight birdies after the turn into a 5-under 67, finishing the third round at Sonoma, Calif., with a two-stroke lead over Jay Haas, Tom Kite and Loren Roberts.

Dubai Ladies Masters: Annika Sorenstam shot her second straight 4-under 68 to increase her lead to seven strokes after the third round of the European Ladies Tour's season-ending tournament at Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Australia's Karrie Webb was second after a 70.

Kolon-Hana Bank Championship: Jin Joo Hong, a South Korean playing in her first LPGA Tour event, shot a 5-under 67 to take a four-stroke lead after the second round at Gyeongyu.

Volvo Masters: India's Jeev Milkha Singh shot a 3-under 68 for a 3-under 210 total and a one-stroke lead after the third round at Sotogrande, Spain. Spain's Sergio Garcia (69), England's Lee Westwood (72) and Swedes Henrik Stenson (73) and Johan Edfors (69) were tied for second at 2 under.