BETHESDA, MD. — Five weeks ago K.J. Choi received a trophy from Jack Nicklaus. On Sunday, he got one from Tiger Woods.
The biggest name in South Korean golf was again the prized guest at a golf party thrown by a U.S. star, as he punctuated an adventurous back nine with a great bunker shot on his way to a three-shot victory over Steve Stricker at the AT&T National.
Choi shot a final-round 68 for a nine-under 271 total to win for the sixth time on the PGA Tour, the most victories by an Asian-born player, and his $1.08-million first-place check matched the one he got for winning Nicklaus' Memorial last month.
"This tournament is just too big for me to really absorb right now," Choi said. "But it's a very big win for me, and definitely the biggest win of my career."
With this tournament, Woods joined Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as players to play host to a PGA Tour event.
Considering the size of the crowd (37,211) and the success of the tournament, Woods said: "It's been a perfect week."
Perfect, with one exception: Woods was never really in contention. Starting and ending seven shots behind, Woods played a final round of even-par 70 that was more celebratory than competitive.
Choi had three bogeys early on the back nine, jostling with Stricker atop the leaderboard, but Choi steadied himself with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 15th to take a two-shot lead.
The third-round leader had been Stuart Appleby at nine under -- two shots ahead of Choi -- but Appleby dropped six strokes in his first seven holes.