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February 16 2012

9:26 PM

Choi relies on solid putter to shoot 69

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- K.J. Choi knew Thursday was going to be a challenging day as soon as he woke up at 4:30 a.m. local time.

Choi "Outside wind there were palm trees like this," Choi said, waving his hand from side to side. "Very, very difficult on the golf course. Wind direction is different yesterday to today. ... More difficult than a normal wind. And then downwind green is very firm, and control very difficult."

Even so, Choi managed to put together a solid round of 69 that left him one stroke off the lead when he finished his round early Thursday afternoon.

He was particularly pleased not to have missed a putt inside 5 feet on Thursday. He hit 10 fairways and 10 greens and used just 26 putts.

"Three more days, and I will continue focus and stay patient and finish the best (I can) this week," said Choi, who tied for seventh at Riviera last year and has three other top-10s.

Choi said the right-to-left wind made driving challenging  "but luckily my putting was there, so I was able to recover." Choi said the poa annua greens were sometimes bumpy but always hard and fast -- "even faster than Augusta at times, he noted -- and determining the grain difficult.
 
"But what makes the Riviera Country Club so difficult is the targets are very small," Choi said. "But if you have control of what you're doing, then obviously it's going to make it easier."

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