2021 Champion Sam Choi (courtesy Maridoe G.C. via Instagram)
stated the final round of the Maridoe Amateur Championship on Thursday with the lead. It was left to his challengers to catch him. No one did.
Choi, a native of Seoul, South Korea who now calls Anaheim, Calif. home, put together a round of even-par 72 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrolton, Texas to finish the 54-hole tournament at 9-under par 207.
(Kingsburg, Calif.) and Kieran Vincent
(Lynchburg, Va. by way of Zimbabwe) were his closest pursuers; they shared second place at 7-under par 209 after rounds of 71 and 72 respectively.
Oklahoma State’s Bo Jin
(Encinitas, Calif.), who finished with a 69, and defending champion Luke Potter
(Encinitas, Calif.) who signed for a 71, shared fourth place at 210.
Choi, who moved to the United States at age 14 to pursue his golf ambitions, had a relatively uneventful final round. His scorecard featured one birdie (at the par-4 sixth), one bogey (at the par-3 17th), and 16 pars.
“The front nine, I was hitting really got shots,” he said, “and really good putts. I hit every fairway, every green.”
Choi kept his round going on the back side by making consecutive up-and-down pars at the 14th and 15th.
“Going toward the back nine, I was shaking a little bit,” he said, “maybe a little nervous. So, I was hitting some weird shots.”
Choi noted that having his father on his bag helped keep him relaxed. “He’s on the bag every time I play tournaments,” he said. “It worked very well, especially today’s round. I was very nervous. (His father) was going through jokes and gave me some good, positive energy.”
What made Choi’s effort even more memorable was the fact that it came as he is in the midst of implementing a swing change.
He finished his junior year at the University of New Mexico by helping his team win the Mountain West Conference championship and tying for the individual title. Following the conclusion of his college season, Choi went to work on his swing.
“My dad watched my swing,” he said. “He told me my backswing was kind of fast when I get nervous. So, after my regional, I kept working to slow down my backswing a little, and before coming to this tournament, I played some small, local tournaments to get some momentum going.”
Vincent, who helped Liberty University reach the NCAA Championships this spring as a junior, started the final round alone in second place two shots from the lead. He essentially matched Choi stroke, signing a card that featured one birdie, one bogey, and 16 pars.
Stark, who recently finished his sophomore year at Oklahoma State, was tied with Baylor's Travis McInroe
, three shots from the lead when the day began. He played the front side in one over par but made two birdies coming in.
The golf course played to approximately 7,300 yards on the final day with a par of 72. This was the second edition of the Maridoe Amateur. Last year’s tournament featured 54 holes of medal play followed by a 64-man match-play bracket. Choi was a quarterfinalist last year.
ABOUT THE Maridoe Amateur
This tournament was introduced in 2020 to provide
top-ranked players a
chance to contend for a Walker Cup berth. The
original format was grueling, a U.S.
Amateur-style competition with 54 holes of stroke
play followed by a 64-player match-
play bracket and a 36-hole championship match. In
2021 the format changed to 54
holes of stroke play. The top 102 players in the World
Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)
will be invited, with the rest of the field based off the
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