Canada's Albin Choi continues hot collegiate streak
Despite moments of doubt, 12th ranked amateur in the world captures USF Invitational.
DADE CITY, FL — Published on Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2013 10:20AM EST Last updated on Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2013 10:22AM EST
Albin Choi breathed a sigh of relief as he walked off the 18th hole with his head up high.
It was a successful three days for the Toronto native, who won his third straight individual title Tuesday afternoon at the USF Invitational.
Although Choi had some difficulty playing on the course for the first time, the junior from North Carolina State still managed to pull through with an 8-under, 208 finish.
“I found the greens really tough. They were rolling really fast,” said the All-American, as he stared out onto the course at Lake Jovita’s Golf and Country Club.
“They don’t hold long irons very well which made it pretty difficult. They tucked the pins today in some spots.”
Choi's three-shot victory is now the eighth of his career and his fourth this season, with wins at the Puerto Rico Classic, Warrior Wave Princeville Intercollegiate and Tar Heel Intercollegiate tournaments.
It wasn’t an easy win, however, as Florida State’s Daniel Berger and South Carolina’s Dykes Harbin followed closely behind him throughout the final round, eventually finishing three back, the same as Hans Reimers, of Mercer.
“It was pretty much a dogfight the entire back nine. It was a pressure-filled back nine for sure,” said the 12th-ranked amateur golfer in the world.
“I felt the front nine was more relaxing and once we got into the back, all the teams started bunching up and so did the players on the individual leaderboard, so it was definitely a good last three holes.
“I definitely felt a little something there but glad I got out with the win.”
Moments of doubt
There were moments on the back nine where it looked like the lead was slipping away from the NC State star as his competitors began to inch closer.
He struggled on the par 4 15th hole, but was able to make up for it on the 17th and 18th.
“The double bogey on 15 kind of hurt. These greens are so fast. If you get them in the wrong spots, it’s very hard to even get it close to the hole,” Choi said. “Today, I expected to win.
Obviously sometimes, it looked like it was slipping a bit, but I feel more like a survivor, if anything.”
The 20-year-old sports management student has been having a stellar career at NC State.
He was named ACC Freshman of the Year, and to the 12-man All-ACC team, was selected to Division I PING All-Region Team, and finished in the top 25 at the All-America Golf Classic in 2011.
Choi has also found great success playing for Team Canada as he finished tied for 73rd at the RBC Canadian Open in 2012. He won the Gary Cowan Trophy as low amateur at the same tournament.
“I feel great to be a part of the Canadian contingent and be a part of NC State,” said Choi, who also finished in the top-5 at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship in 2012.
“I have such a good support team around me and I love all these guys to death.”