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October 26, 2009

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Choi makes triumphant return to Asia

SOUTH Korea's K J Choi celebrated his return to Asia by claiming a four-stroke victory in the rain-disrupted Iskandar Johor Open at Johor Bahru, Malaysia, yesterday.

Choi posted a final-round score of eight-under 64 for a three-day total of 20-under 196 at the US$1 million tournament, which was reduced to 54 holes by heavy rain.

Chapchai Nirat of Thailand snatched second place by chipping in at three of the last four holes at the Royal Johor Country Club, where the final round was suspended for two hours yesterday by a thunderstorm.

South Africa's Retief Goosen fired a superb 62 to take a share of third position with overnight leader Himmat Rai of India, who closed with a 70 for a three-day total of 201.

Choi fired three consecutive birdies in his opening three holes before adding another two on the sixth and seventh holes to make the turn in just 31. He went on to post birdies on 11, 12 and 18 and returned a blemish-free scorecard.

The victory marked a happy return to Asia for Choi, who honed his skills on the Asian Tour before turning his attention to the US PGA Tour, where he has won seven titles.

"For me to win my first Asian Tour title outside of Korea is a testament of how difficult it is to play in Asia," said Choi.

In Castellon, Spain, Michael Jonzon of Sweden shot a six-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead at the Castello Masters after the third round.

Jonzon finished at 16-under 197 at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo.

Martin Kaymer of Germany and Sergio Garcia of Spain were tied for second. Kaymer had a 68 and Garcia shot a 67 after finishing his second round in the morning because play on Friday was halted by bad light.


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