Choi and Clarke share leadership of the PGA Tour Champions in Sioux Falls

by | Sep 18, 2021 | PGA

Posted: 09/17/2021 / 6:44 PM CDT
Updated: 09/17/2021 / 6:44 p.m. CDT

SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) – KJ Choi closed Adler birdie birdie for 7-under 63 and shared the first-round lead with Darren Clarke at the Stanford International of the PGA Tour Champions.

Choi had a bogey-free round at the Minnehaha Country Club. The 51-year-old South Korean won eight times on the PGA Tour.

“Nice finish,” said Choi. “It’s very comfortable here, everyone supports Sanford, the tournament is going well and the golf course is in beautiful, fantastic condition. … Very important this course iron shot and putting. Sometimes confusing on the greens and the slopes. “

Clarke, the 53-year-old Major Champion from Northern Ireland, also finished 18th with a birdie on the par-4. He has two wins this season, the TimberTech Championship in November and the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in January.

“I liked this golf course from the start when I came here and I really, really enjoyed it.” said Clarke, who shot 62 on the field last year. “Seems to match my eye. There are a couple of holes where I can open up a bit and dig in, like the first one today, just ahead of the wind, so I hit the driver off the tee and just off the edge of the green and praised it there. I just like the look of the golf course. ”

Robert Karlsson, Matt Gogel, Rod Pampling and Brandt Jobe were one blow back. Mario Tiziani, the brother-in-law of US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, was 65 years old with Retief Goosen, Steven Alker and Mark Hensby.

Stricker, who will lead the United States against Europe in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin next week, has birded the last two holes for a 67. He won the opening event in 2018.

South Dakota player Tom Byrum led the group at 66 with Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Jerry Kelly and 2020 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez. Fred Couples matched Stricker at 67 and Davis Love III was 69.

Couples, Furyk and Love will join Stricker as deputy captains in Whistling Straits. Karlsson is the deputy captain for Europe.

Charles Schwab Cup points leader Bernhard Langer shot 70.