LONDON, Ont. (Golf Canada) (Aug. 15, 2010) –Albin Choi of Toronto has added his name to the storied history of Canadian amateur golf after firing a final-round 66 (-6) today to win the 106th playing of the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at London Hunt and Country Club.
Choi, a member of Team Canada’s Development Squad, was solid all week finishing with rounds of 69-68-68-66 for a tournament total score of 17-under to win the historic Earl Grey Cup.
His four-round total of 271 ties Richard Zokol (1971) for the best stroke-play finish in Canadian Men’s Amateur history, and lowest since the event returned to stroke-play format in 2008.
A crowd of in excess of 2,500 people took to London Hunt to see Choi - who originally hails from Surrey, B.C. - drain seven birdies during his sizzling final round. Choi stood on the 18th tee with a chance to equal the London Hunt competitive course record of 64, but bogeyed the hole – the lone blemish on what was an otherwise dazzling round – to finish at 66.
“I wasn’t thinking about the course record, I was just thinking about the win,” said Choi. “A poor second shot led to the bogey, but overall I’m pleased with the way I played today. I got it going on 10, 11, 12 and 13, that’s when I felt really in control and got into the right mindset where I could pull this win off.”
A victory at Canada’s oldest national golf championship came as a surprise to the 18-year old.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to win the tournament coming into today, but I’m glad that I did,” added Choi. “This is Canada’s biggest amateur event and to have my name added to the Earl Grey Cup is quite an accomplishment.”
With the victory, Choi earns an exemption into the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Shaugnessey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. But, Choi’s golf season isn’t quite over yet.
“The RBC Canadian Open will be a great experience, but I have to focus short-term for now,” added the newly crowned champion. “I want to have a good freshman year, just get used to playing college golf, that will be a new experience. And, I also want to have a good appearance at the U.S. Amateur – that would be a good starting point.”
He will look to continue his tremendous 2010 season in a couple weeks when he competes at the 2010 U.S. Amateur, August 23-29 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, WA., before heading to North Carolina, where he will join the North Carolina State (NC State) Wolfpack men’s golf team as a freshman.
Finishing second was Eugene Wong of North Vancouver, B.C. The 19-year old Team Canada member had a single bogey and five birdies during his final round 68 to finish solo second at 14-under, three shots back of Choi. Wong also finished tied for second at the 2008 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.
“I played great today, 68, I mean Albin just played really solid, 66, not much to say, he deserves the win,” said Wong. “I’m pretty happy with my finish. I’ll look to build upon results like this for the events left on my schedule this summer.”
Wong will also compete at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship and hopes to be chosen for the team representing Canada at the World Amateur Team Championship which takes place October 16-31, 2010 in Argentina.
Two-time defending champion Cam Burke of New Hamburg, Ont., made a late week push but fell short in his effort to become only the second player in the 106-year history of the Canadian Men’s Amateur to win three straight. [Brent Franklin 1985, 86, 87), the only player to have accomplished the feat, will be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame later this year].
Playing in the day’s final grouping – a trio of Team Canada members with Choi and Wong – Burke shot a final round 4-under 68 with three birdies and an eagle to finish alone in third at 10-under for the tournament, seven shots back of Choi.
American Lion Kim of Ann Arbour, MI., winner of the 2010 U.S. Public Links Championship, finished fourth at 9-under while Anthony Warren of Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont. rounded out the top-five at 5-under.
The 2010 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at London Hunt and Country Club featured 240 players with a cut after 36 holes to the low 70 and ties. Redtail Golf Course joined London Hunt in hosting the opening 36-holes of the championship with the final two weekend rounds being contested at London Hunt.
The 2011 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship will take place at Niakwa Country Club at a date to be determined. The 107th playing of the championship will once again feature an expanded field of 240 competitors with Elmhurst Golf and Country Club also challenging competitors during the opening 36-holes of the event.