K.J. Choi wins first PGA TOUR Champions title at PURE Insurance Championship
September 26, 2021
By Staff , PGATOUR.COM
- September 26, 2021
K.J. Choi makes birdie on No. 7 at Pure Insurance
In 2002, K.J. Choi made history as the first player from South Korea to win on the PGA TOUR.
He made more history Sunday at the PURE Insurance Championship with a two-shot win over Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka.
He’s now the first from South Korea to win on PGA TOUR Champions.
“My last win was the 2011 PLAYERS (Championship), 13 years ago so I really wanted to win,” said Choi. “So this is very special, my dream is winning.”
Choi, who had a putt to win in a playoff two weeks ago at the Sanford International, made just two bogeys in 54 holes (36 at Pebble Beach, 18 at Spyglass Hills). He turned in rounds of 67-68-68 for a winning total of 13-under.
With his first PGA TOUR Champions wins, Choi moved up 10 spots on the Schwab Cup standings to No. 21 with five events remaining in the 2020-2021 season.
The win was his first in the U.S. since the 2011 PLAYERS Championship. He went 211 starts (10 years, 4 months, 11 days) between wins.
“You know, any win is special. All of the legends are still good, still long hitters. I’m following guys like Mr. Bernhard Langer, the scoring is still very good. I’m happy on Champions Tour so all is good.”
Choi is heading back to Korea for his annual K.J. Choi Invitational this week.
Langer closed with a 4-under 68 to finish runner-up for the fourth time this season. His strong performance moves him back to the top spot on the Schwab Cup standings.
“I probably had my best ball striking week in a long time,” said the 64-year-old Langer. “I really felt I struck the ball well and made a few putts here and there.”
Langer is going for his unprecedented sixth Schwab Cup title over the next month. He’s got a bit more breathing more after his runner-up finish, but Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly are both within striking distance.
“It’s fun to be in contention for the Schwab Cup once more. It’s a very tight race, like eight guys in the running, that’s pretty unusual so it’ll be interesting the next few weeks to see who ends up on top.”
Langer is now $164,632 ahead of Furyk.
Cejka moved up to 12th on the Schwab Cup standings with his T2.
Cydney Craven of The First Tee of Monterey won the junior competition with Tim Petrovic at the PURE Insurance Championship.
RELATED: PGA TOUR Champions Leaderboard
K.J. Choi, 67-68-68 – 203 (-13)
- Starting the round with a two stroke lead, Choi carded six birdies to post a 31 on the front before a bogey at the par-5 No. 14 – his first in 39 holes – and finishing with a 4-under 68.
- His first victory on PGA TOUR Champions comes in his 15th start, one week after finishing runner-up to Darren Clarke in a two-hole playoff at the Sanford International (Sioux Falls, South Dakota).
- With the victory, Choi becomes the first PGA TOUR Champions winner from South Korea.
- Choi becomes the fourth international player to win the PURE Insurance Championship in its 18-year history, joining Bernhard Langer (Germany), Paul Broadhurst (England) and Esteban Toledo (Mexico).
- It was Choi’s first win in the United States in 211 starts dating back to the 2011 PLAYERS Championship, breaking a winless streak of 3,787 days (10 years, 4 months, 11 days).
- Choi, who turned 51 on May 19, becomes the 11th rookie to win on PGA TOUR Champions during the 2020-21 season (last rookie to win: Cameron Beckmann).
- There have now been 13 first-time winners on PGA TOUR Champions during the 2020-21 season.
Choi won eight times on the PGA TOUR and 10 international titles, most recently at the 2012 CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi on the Asian Tour.
- Choi now has six top-10s during the 2020-21 wraparound season and moves from No. 31 to No. 21 in Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Bernhard Langer, 71-66-68 – 205 (-11)
- Entering the final round two back, Langer shot 4-under 68 on Sunday to finish two strokes behind K.J. Choi.
- It was the 2017 PURE Insurance Championship winner’s fourth runner-up finish during the 2020-21 season.
- He has one win (2020 Cologuard Classic) and 21 top-10s in 34 starts during the 2020-21 season.
- Langer turned 64 on August 27 and is a 41-time winner on PGA TOUR Champions (second-most all time).
- With his $176,000 second place check, the World Golf Hall of Fame member regained the top spot of the Charles Schwab Cup standings for the 17th week this season.
- This is Langer’s 39th runner-up finish all-time on PGA TOUR Champions. He has finished first or second on 80 occasions in 289 starts (27.7%)
- With his 68 today, Langer extended his current streak of rounds of par or better to 24 (current best on Tour).
Alex Cejka, 66-71-68 – 205 (-11)
- Cejka birdied four of his first five holes and posted a 4-under 68 in the final round.
- Led field in greens in regulation this week, hitting 46 of 54 (85.2%).
- In 15 starts this season, Cejka has two victories (2021 Regions Tradition and 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship), two runner-ups and six top-10 finishes.
- Cejka moves up four spots to No. 12 in Charles Schwab Cup ($1,639,257).
- Scott Dunlap carded six consecutive birdies right out of the gate (Nos. 1-6), followed by another birdie on No. 10 and a bogey on No. 17 en route to a 6-under 66 on Sunday, which vaulted him 21 spots to a fourth-place finish.
- His streak of six birdies ties this season’s record set by Glen Day at the 2021 Chubb Classic (Rd. 1, Nos. 5-10).
- In his PGA TOUR Champions debut, first-round co-leader Stuart Appleby carded rounds of 66-77-72 (T34).
- New Zealand’s Steven Alker extended his consecutive top-10 finishes to five with his T5 finish start in his fifth PGA TOUR Champions career start. With the top-10 finish, Alker earned a berth into the next event, the Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS, in Jacksonville, Florida (October 4-10).