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Choi leads by four at Sony Open

HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) — A fast start and a strong finish gave K.J. Choi the round he was looking for Saturday in the Sony Open.

Choi got up-and-down from the bunker on the par-5 18th to cap off a 4-under 66 and double the size of his margin, taking a four-shot lead into the final round as he tries to become the first outright wire-to-wire winner at Waialae in eight years.

The only threat on a balmy day came from a rookie who wasn’t even on course.

Tim Wilkinson, a left-hander from New Zealand playing in only his third PGA Tour event, birdied seven of his first 11 holes and finished with an 8-under 62 for the best round of the week. That left him four shots behind Choi, who shows no sign of cracking.

Choi was at 15-under 195.

Kevin Na, who started the third round two shots behind, couldn’t keep up with Choi’s birdie-birdie start and only a pair of birdies on the final four holes left him in the mix. Na shot 69 and was at 10-under 210 with Stephen Marino (68).

Another shot back was a group that included Chad Campbell, who sized up the situation for everyone chasing Choi.

He’s going to be tough, Campbell said. He hits a lot of fairways, and that’s what you have to do out here.

Choi is 4-0 on the PGA Tour when he has the lead going into the final round, and his average score is 67 in those situations.

Choi is popular in these parts, with several fans showing up Saturday with South Korean flags, and his group of friends dressed in yellow. He birdied his first two holes from inside 10 feet and nearly made an ace on the fourth as he quickly expanded his lead.

I figured I’d lose some ground to K.J., Marino said. I think I can (catch him), but I’ll need some help from him.

It looked early on that Choi wouldn’t leave anyone with a chance.

He hit his approach to 3 feet on the opening hole for birdie, made a 10-foot birdie on the next hole, and his tee shot on the par-3 fourth took a few hops and hit the back of the cup before spinning 12 feet away. He had to settle for par. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Choi leads by four at Sony Open – found here.

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January 13, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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