Sun, Oct 23, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Unheralded South Korean upstages big names


South Korea’s Lee Ki-sang putts during the third round of the CJ Invitational at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club in Yeoju, South Korea, yesterday.

Photo: AFP/Asian Tour/Paul Lakatos

Little-known South Korean Lee Ki-sang enjoyed a stunning start to snatch the third-round lead from Anthony Kim and tournament host K.J. Choi at the inaugural CJ Invitational yesterday.

The 25-year-old Lee birdied his opening four holes, sank a magical hole-in-one at the fifth and birdied the seventh for an outward 29 at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club, before settling for an eight-under 64.

He leads by one shot from American Kim, the overnight leader and a three-time winner in the US, who birdied two of his final three holes for a 68. Local hero Choi ended the day in third place, three off the pace.

A solid 68 kept Thailand’s Prom Meesawat on the fringe of contention in tied fourth position with South Korea’s David Oh in the US$750,000 event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour.

“Whenever I hit the ball, it kept going into the hole. I couldn’t believe it. I was doing very well and I just tried to keep my score,” said Lee, who has just the one domestic victory to his name.

“I tried to make a new record, maybe a 10-under or something, but my iron play after the turn was not good,” added Lee, who has a three-day total of 15-under 201.

He was unperturbed by the pressure of playing alongside the world’s No. 14 Choi, an Asian Tour honorary member with eight USPGA Tour wins, and Kim.

“I will play like how I have done this week. It’s a big burden, but I’ll try to overcome this pressure. I’ve never played with K.J. before so I am looking forward to it,” Lee said. “K.J. is a hero to all young golfers and professional players. I always watch him play and listen to his interviews. Everyone looks up to him.”

Choi, who carded a 67, said he was looking forward to an exciting final round in Yeoju.

“It’s a fantastic scenario and everybody will have a good fight. I’m very happy. It’s about the pressure,” he said.

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