"Korean Tank" Choi Kyoung-ju, 51, has written a new chapter in Korean men's golf.
More commonly known as K.J. Choi, the golfer on Sept. 26 won the PGA Tour Champions event Pure Insurance Championship (combined prize money of USD 2.2 million) at Pebble Beach Golf Links (par 72) in Monterey, California.
He shot a 13-under 203 in the third and final round by reducing four strokes with five birdies and one bogey. This was good for a two-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka, the two Germans who tied for second place, and USD 330,000 (KRW 380 million) in prize money.
The tournament is open to golfers over 50. Choi is the first Korean to win the championship.
This was also his first PGA Tour win in 10 years and four months since he grabbed the Players Championship in May 2011.
Choi said in an interview after his win, "It took me more than 10 years to win again but it wasn't easy as I was up against prominent golfers," adding, "I've played several times on this course but today is the happiest day, and it's become a fantastic competition for me."
Born in Wando-gun County, Jeollanam-do Province, on May 19, 1970, Choi switched from weightlifting at Wando Middle School to golf in high school and passed a professional test hosted by the Korea Professional Golfers' Association (KPGA) in 1993. He won his first domestic title at the 1995 KPGA Korean Tour Phantom Classic and made his U.S. debut in November 1999 at the PGA Tour Qualifying School, a competition for players to join the PGA Tour.
In May 2002, he became the first Korean to win on the PGA Tour at the Compaq (now Zurich) Classic of New Orleans. He collected his eighth tour victory -- the most by an Asian player -- at the 2011 Players Championship, dubbed the tour's "fifth" major.
Having competed in senior tournaments since last year, Choi on Sept. 19 was runner-up after losing in a playoff to Darren Clarke at the PGA Tour Champions event Sanford International at Minnehaha Country Club (par 70) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Choi on Sept. 30 will host and participate in the KPGA Korean Tour Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance K.J. Choi Invitational in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do Province.