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September 15 2011

9:53 PM

Choi back in the hunt at Cog Hill

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LEMONT, Ill. -- A year ago, K.J. Choi tied for third at the BMW Championship, shooting three straight 69s to finish three strokes off the pace

Choi has positioned himself for another run at the title, too, after opening with a 67 on Thursday. He's alone in fourth, four strokes off the pace being set by Justin Rose.

Choi The 67 matched Choi's career low at Cog Hill shot way back in 2000, and it tied his best round in the 17 since he finished second at the AT&T National earlier this year. Choi hasn't finished higher than 32nd during that stretch so getting off to a good start was key.

"This week is very important," said the reigning PLAYERS champ. "I'm trying more better than last three, four weeks."

Choi, who beat David Toms in a playoff at TPC Sawgrass, said he hurt his left thumb three days ago. He was pain-free on Thursday, though, and it showed in his golf game as he hit 8 of 14 fairways and all but six greens in regulation.

"Today it never bothered me and I hit it so well," Choi said. "Some holes I missed shots, but good recovery and the short game, bunkers. I feel more confidence and more better than last year."

Choi came into the BMW Championship ranked 15th in the FedExCup. So he had no worries when it comes to advancing to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the fourth time in the last five years.

When he finished his first round, though, Choi was projected at No. 8. He would need to finish tied for second or better to move into the all-important top 5.

"My game feels and my swing and everything is better than last year, more confidence on the golf course," Choi said. "I'm trying to catch up with everybody, so I'm very aggressive for three days."

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