Long wait ends for Choi and her father/caddie
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., August 4, 2015 – Chella Choi waited seven years to enter the winner’s circle on the LPGA Tour. Now, in her 157th career start at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I, Choi earned that elusive win and also the Kia Most Compelling Performance Award for July. Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the LPGA.
It was a very special victory, not only for Choi but also her father, Ji Yeon. Choi and her father, who retired from his job as a national policeman in South Korea, had made a promise to each other that he would stay on as her caddie until they got their first win together. Nearly eight years after that promise was made, Ji Yeon can now retire if he wishes and allow a new caddie to take over his duties thanks to Choi’s win in Toledo.
Heading up the par-5 18th tied for the lead with fellow South Korean Ha Na Jang, Choi’s winning moment was in major doubt when she hit her drive left into the woods and had to punch out into the fairway. Her dad kept telling her, “‘hang in there, hang in there, and make a par”’ and she did when she holed an 8-foot par putt to force a playoff with Jang.
When Jang airmailed her third shot over the back of the green on the first playoff hole and was unable to get up and down, Choi calmly two-putted for the win that had eluded her in 28 prior top-10 finishes. Even more impressive is Choi’s win came after she opened the tournament with a 2-over-par 73. But she posted 66-65-66 to finish at 14-under-par and earn a spot in a playoff that would ultimately give her that long-awaited victory.
The 2015 Kia Most Compelling Performance Award winner will be announced at the season-ending 2015 CME Group Tour Championship following an online fan vote (fan voting begins October 1, 2015). Previous winners of the 2015 monthly awards were Sei Young Kim for her stellar performance at the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY in April, Minjee Lee for her performance at the Kingsmill Championship in May, and Inbee Park in June for winning her third consecutive KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Performances may include a single tournament, multiple tournaments, single-round accomplishments or record-breaking performances. Winners of all the 2015 Kia Performance Awards will receive an all-new 2016 Kia Sorento, Kia’s best-selling CUV.The 2015 Kia Performance Awards are:
- Kia Power Drive - Awarded to the player with the longest driving distance
- Kia Drive to the Top - Awarded to the player with the most top-10 finishes
- Kia Most Compelling Performance - Recognizes a player with an exceptional performance throughout the year; this award will be awarded monthly then the year-end winner will be chosen by fans through an online vote
- Kia Community Assist - Recognizing a player who makes exceptional contributions to charity organizations or community programs