Choi's 64 gives him Sony lead GOLF

January 11, 2008

HONOLULU -- K.J. Choi is accustomed to strong starts at the PGA Sony Open, as he closed yesterday with a birdie for a 6-under-par 64 that gave him a one-shot lead and his sixth consecutive opening round in the 60s at Waialae Country Club.

Golf Jimmy Walker usually expects the worst when he comes to these shores.

The former Nationwide Tour player of the year suffered a serious neck injury at the Sony Open in his rookie debut three years ago. Walker returned the next year and shot 80. A reluctant return to the tour helped erase some bad vibes, as Walker was among three players at 65 on a day of low scoring and no wind. It was reflected on the scoreboard, with more than half of the 144-man field finishing under par.

That Choi was atop the leader board was no surprise. He also opened with a 64 last year and wound up in a tie for fourth. It was a continuation from last week at the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship, where Choi was in last place until closing 69-69.

Heath Slocum, who teamed with Boo Weekley for a runner-up finish at the World Cup in China over Thanksgiving, and Stephen Marino joined Walker at 65.

The group at 66 included Mercedes winner Daniel Chopra, Chad Campbell and Rory Sabbatini.

Tadd Fujikawa, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was headed for a short week. One year after he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the PGA cut, Fujikawa never recovered from a double bogey on the second hole.

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