Choi finishes 25-under to secure first win at Windsor Championship
WINDSOR, Ontario – Sam Choi, who hasn’t missed a cut since joining the PGA TOUR Canada just two months ago, secured his first win on Sunday at the Windsor Championship. The rookie, who also has recorded the most top-10 finishes this season, closed his memorable round with a 7-under 64 – matching the low score of the day -- to claim a three-shot victory.
Choi emerged from the pack at the scoring-friendly Ambassador Golf Club and took the lead for good with a birdie on the 13th hole. Despite a bogey on the 14th, Choi added birdies at No. 15 and No. 18 and finished at 25-under 259 – the lowest winning score in an event this season.
“It’s amazing. I finally … finally … got the job done,” said Choi, who jumped into second place on the Fortinet Cup standings. “I finished in so many top fives and top 10s coming into this tournament and I knew I had to play good golf out here. Just fortunate to stay in first place.”
There was a six-way tie for second place with Canadian Stuart Macdonald (67), the USA’s Cameron Sisk (66), Alex Scott (67), Devon Bling (68), and third-round co-leaders Ryan Linton (68) and Jeffrey Kang (68) all finishing three strokes behind Choi at 22-under 262. Tied for eighth at 21-under were Canadian Lawren Rowe (67) and Americans Joey Vrzich (67) and Luke Schniederjans (69).
Choi qualified for PGA TOUR Canada by finishing 11th on PGA TOUR University. The Malibu, California, resident and graduate of Pepperdine University and University of New Mexico, showed he was ready for the professional game by posting five top-10s in his first six events. He began the final day two shots off the lead and quickly got in the mix by making birdies on three of the first five holes, shooting a 32 on the front.
“It was very important to start fast,” Choi said. “On a course like this, when there’s a lot of birdie opportunities, you’ve got to start really fast. I hit some great wedge shots and I made some good putts.”
Choi had eight birdies and one bogey on Sunday and finished the week with 33 birdies, the most by an individual this season. Choi has a tour-leading 152 birdies.
Scott, who was paired with Choi in the final round, birdied five holes on the front side to shoot 31 and held a one-shot lead over Choi and Vrzich at the turn. But Choi caught him at 23-under with a birdie at No. 11 and took the lead for good with a birdie at No. 13. No one made a hard run at Choi, who was able to maintain his focus under stressful circumstances. Choi gave credit to his father/caddie DooYoung for helping him keep his eyes on the finish line.
“Every time I was trying to look at the leaderboard, my dad’s like, ‘You’re not looking at that,’” Choi said. “And at one point, I think it was hole 15, I was trying to look at the leaderboard and he grabbed my head and said, ‘Sam, don’t look over there. Look at that hot girl over there that’s walking behind you.’ It was good to work with him today.”
When the final putt went in – a 38-footer for birdie at No. 18 – Choi gave his dad a big hug and let the emotions pour.
“I went to high school (in America after migrating from South Korea) and that’s been like 10 years ago already,” Choi said. “It was me and my dad to start this journey and it means a lot to get the job done with him, especially on the bag. I just wanted to give him a big hug. It’s awesome.”