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June 17 2010

9:06 PM

Choi completes turnaround

The way his round started, K.J. Choi probably didn't expect to be tied for the lead after the morning wave of the 110th U.S. Open.

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Choi bogeyed the first hole and then made a three-putt double on the second. He recovered extremely well, though, with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 to turn in even par.

Choi then added three more birdies in his first five holes on the back nine to move to 3 under and into sole possession of the lead. He bogeyed two of his last three, though, and is now tied with his playing partner, Mike Weir, and Ian Poulter and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

"My body is very cold this morning," Choi said. "... I'm comfortable swinging after 4, 5, 6, more in the nature of my shot, and very strong finish today. Every day even par is a very good situation."

The round of 1 under tied for Choi's lowest ever in a U.S. Open. He shot 69s in the first rounds of the 2005 Open at Pinehurst and the '02 renewal at Bethpage Black. His best finish, a tie for 15th, came in 2005.

"So I'm so happy today," Choi said. "After two holes and then comfortable and I'm twice in three-putt.  Uphill alternatives slow, but downhill I don't understand how far downhill, so I hit it twice in three-putt. But more practice downhill, tomorrow is more better."

Choi said he profited from his pairing on Thursday with Weir and Tim Clark, who finished with a 72.

"Mike is a good friend of mine, long time on the PGA TOUR, and Presidents Cup twice, and very, very nice man, play very well," Choi said. "His short game is great. “

Choi said the tee shots are extremely demanding at Pebble Beach.

"This course it looks like is wide open fairway, but in the teeing ground, hitting before in the mindset, in the right, in the left, either way is very tough in the bunker and tough in the rough," he said. "And it can't stop in the bouncing, so very scared on the tee shot."

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