South Korean K.J. Choi is the winner of the inaugural AT&T National golf tournament hosted by Tiger Woods of the United States. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at Congressional Country Club, in Bethesda, Maryland just outside Washington for Sunday's final round and has the story.
K.J. Choi began the day two shots behind leader Stuart Appleby of Australia, and while Appleby collapsed to a six over-par 76, Choi carded two under-par 68.
That gave Choi nine under-par 271 for the four rounds, and his margin of victory was three shots over American Steve Stricker, who shot even par 70 on the final day.
This was Choi's second PGA Tour win this year and the sixth in his career. Five weeks ago he won the Memorial, hosted by another American golf legend, Jack Nicklaus. But, Choi said this was his biggest win.
"I'm just shocked at myself being able to win Jack and Tiger's tournament," said Choi. "I can't really express in words what this means to me. This tournament is just too big for me to really absorb right now. But it's a very big win for me, and definitely the biggest win of my career."
Choi had been tied with Stricker through 14 holes in the final round, but the Korean birdied the 15th while Stricker made bogey. Choi got in trouble on the 17th hole but got of it by sinking his shot from the bunker (sand trap) for a birdie that gave him the three-shot advantage. His victory was worth $1,800,000.
World number one Tiger Woods, hosting his inaugural PGA Tour event, had a par 70 in his final round and finished in a two-way tie for sixth place with Australian Robert Allenby.
More than 37,000 fans came out to watch this tournament on each of the final two days. Tiger wanted to honor his father, a decorated Vietnam veteran who died last year, so all active duty military personnel got in for free. So did all children under age 12. Tiger also wanted it to be affordable for many others, so a ticket for Sunday's final round cost only $25.
Tiger was pleased how it all went.
"Everyone worked so hard to make it happen," said Tiger Woods. "And you know I think, from what I've seen so far, from walking around the golf course this entire week, I think this tournament has been embraced by the people here in the D.C. Area. I think that's ultimately what you want to have happen, and we've been very lucky and very fortunate to have that happen."
The AT&T National will be here again next year, but the site is uncertain for 2009 and beyond.