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Golf: Chella Choi and father both winners at Marathon Classic

Chella Choi celebrates her Marathon Classic win with her dad, her caddie of eight years. Photos: AFP.

Chella Choi celebrates her Marathon Classic win with her dad, her caddie of eight years. Photos: AFP.

July 20, 2015: Chella Choi’s dad, a former police officer, can now finally get his wish and retire as her caddie after eight years – seven on the LPGA and one on the Symetra Tour, as reported on www.lpga.com.

 

The agreement between father and daughter was that he would stay on the bag until they hoisted a trophy together. They did that on Sunday at the Marathon Classic, outlasting fellow Korean Jang Ha-na on the first playoff hole with a par for Choi’s first career LPGA win in her 157th start on Tour.

 

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe,” said Choi, who lost a four-way playoff at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in 2012. “It’s my dream coming true. It’s very exciting.

 

“I’ve worked with my father for eight years, so I’m excited for him. The first time win is hard, but second and third are easier, so hopefully this is a turning point for me.”

 

Choi, 24, yanked her drive in the left woods off of the 18th tee – her first missed fairway of the day – and looked toast in her bid for her first ever LPGA win. But Choi punched out, laid up and hit her fourth shot into the par-five 18th eight feet right of the hole to give herself a shot.

 

The Florida resident still needed to hole her putt and for Jang to miss her 10-foot birdie putt to force a playoff. Both happened, as Choi (66) and Jang (68) finished on 14-under.

 

Jang then airmailed her third shot over on the first playoff hole and raced her chip past, meaning Choi had her first career win in hand.

 

Choi beat Jang Ha-na in a playoff to win her first LPGA title in her 157th start on Tour.

Choi beat Jang Ha-na in a playoff to win her first LPGA title in her 157th start on Tour.

“I missed my tee-shot and I don’t have confidence in winning, like I don’t have experience of winning, so I was really a little bit nervous,” Choi said.

 

“I tried to focus and my father said, ‘It’s okay. You like a draw hole. Try to be patient and make par.’ I tried to be patient and focus on just trying to make a par, so I made a par … I’m so excited!”

 

It didn’t always look like Choi’s tournament to win when Lydia Ko, in the group ahead, stormed into the lead with four birdies in a front-nine four-under-par 30.

 

However, the former World No. 1 played the back nine in even par and wasn’t able to birdie the last on her way to a 67 that left the defending champion one shot shy of the playoff.

 

“I played really solid the front nine and that’s all I could really do,” Ko said. “I know it would have been great if I could continue that on the back nine, but it just wasn’t going. I think four-under is a good score at the end of the day.”

 

China No. 1 Feng Shanshan joined Ko in a tie for third, while Koreans Kim Hyo-joo and Q Baek and American Brittany Lang tied for fifth.

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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