POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 02, 2011
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. » If seeing the putts drop for birdie were not enough, K.J. Choi noticed his gallery growing and getting more excited for him Friday at Aronimink in the AT&T National.
“I started feeling that ... I’m working toward a special round,” Choi said.
With five birdies over his last six holes, Choi had a 6-under 64 to match the lowest score in the two years the AT&T National has been played at Aronimink. It gave him a two-shot lead over Chris Riley (66), Charlie Wi (66), Justin Leonard (67) and Bo Van Pelt (66).
Former Kaneohe resident and Castle alum Dean Wilson shot 3-over 73 and is at even-par 140, tied for 32nd place.
Another day of brilliant weather did little to ease the scoring conditions on this classic course in the Philadelphia suburbs. Choi simply made it look easy at the end of the round by keeping it in the fairway and giving himself good looks at birdie. Three of his birdie putts were from about 10 feet or longer, and he closed out his round with a wedge to within 16 inches for one final birdie.
Choi, already having a big year with his win at The Players Championship, was at 7-under 133 going into the weekend. He won the inaugural AT&T National in 2007 when it was played at Congressional.
John Cook and John Huston shot 9-under 63s to match the course record and share the first-round lead in the Montreal Championship, the Champions Tour’s lone Canadian event, being held at Blainville, Quebec.
James Morrison put aside the chronic stomach ailment and personal heartache, shooting a 5-under 66 for a 10-under 132 total to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the French Open at Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France.
The Englishman almost skipped the tournament after having to go to the hospital Tuesday because of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that has bothered him for a decade. And his wife, Jessica, was diagnosed with a cancerous cyst last year, then had two miscarriages.