Golf: Choi Takes Charge on Another Crazy Day; GOLF: THE 137TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Byline: By Rob Tanner at Royal Birkdale
For the first time in his professional career, Korea's KJ Choi leads a major championship after his stunning three-under-par round of 67 put him in front at the halfway stage of the The Open Choi started the day three shots behind the overnight leaders and his second round didn't get off to a great start as he dropped a shot at the first hole. However, it would be the only shot he gave up all afternoon. His putting was quite majestic as he birdied the third, 13th, and 17th holes and finished with a 20-footer on the 18th green to be the only player below par at the halfway stage.
Now the former weightlifter needs to show the strength to carry himself through the weekend and he will have the whole of Korea behind him - all 72 million of them.
"I think that was the best round I have ever played at the The Open," Choi said. "Everything about my game was good and now I have to make sure I keep my composure and get plenty of rest for the next two rounds.
"I like links courses because I can stand at the tee and see everything, I can see where I want to put the ball and I am able to do it.
"To win here would mean so much to everyone in Korea and they are all behind me."
One shot behind is veteran Australian and two-time former champion Greg Norman. The 53-year-old continued his fairytale championship by taking the lead overall during the morning before Choi's charge As the overnight leaders, Rocco Mediate, Graeme McDowell and Australian Robert Allenby all dropped shots early on, Norman birdied the first hole to go one under par. A double bogey on the sixth dropped him back into the pack, but he was striking the ball superbly and recovered with birdies at the seventh and eighth to move back to one under. He dropped a shot on the 17th but holed out at the last to a thunderous ovation to finish on level par.
This was vintage Norman, the Great White Shark who has recorded 87 professional victories.
"Of course, I feel like I am stepping back in time," he said. "My expectations were almost nil coming here. I hadn't played a lot of golf.
My expectations are still realistically low and I have to be that way because I can't sit here and say 'okay it's going great, I'm playing well and I am doing it' because I still haven't been here for a long time."
The round of the tournament came from Colombian Camilo Villegas, who treated the spectators to a stunning 65 to move to within two shots of the lead - but it could have been he who was left spectating. …