Choi hangs on, wins Sony Open

Golf

January 14, 2008

HONOLULU -- Every shot brought a tough decision. Every swing brought an unpredictable result.

K.J. Choi never imagined having to work so hard in paradise, even with a four-stroke lead in the Sony Open. When he finally calmed his nerves and his putting stroke, however, he wound up as the champion.

Choi survived the blustery conditions at Waialae and a spirited charge by Rory Sabbatini, closing with a 1-over-par 71 for a three-shot victory yesterday that put him in elite company. It was Choi's fourth straight year with a PGA Tour win, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh with active streaks that long.

"I can't remember having such a difficult round as today," Choi said. "I told myself, `Try not to lose focus.' "

When Choi three-putted the 13th hole for bogey, his lead was down to two shots. But the South Korean, 37, made four straight pars and then his only birdie on the final hole.

Sabbatini shot a 68. Choi finished at 14-under 266 and earned $954,000 for his seventh PGA Tour win. Jerry Kelly closed with a 67 to finish third.

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