Johnnie walker classic: Big names bow out as South Korean Choi stands firm

Perth, February 10:

Tournament big-guns Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Colin Montgomerie all crashed out of the $2.1 million Johnnie Walker Classic here on Friday as South Korea’s KJ Choi flew into the lead on the back of six birdies.

In a day of disappointments for the tournament’s top players, Goosen, the world number 3, shot his second even-par 72 to miss the cut by two-strokes, while the US Open champion Campbell fared even worse, carding a total of 146.

The New Zealander had a dismal day, shooting four bogeys, including a triple on the par-5 sixth hole, to return to the clubhouse with a 74.

For Montgomerie, who missed the cut by two after rounds of 70 and 74, it was the second time in as many tournaments that he failed to make the final rounds after shooting 74-74 during last weeks’s Dubai Desert Classic.

But as the name players crumbled, Choi, a former powerlifter, stood his ground at The Vines Resort and Country Club. Bidding to become the first Asian player to win the title, he started the day a stroke off the pace and shot a six-under par 66, making him 13-under after two rounds.

That left him two shots clear of American Kevin Stadler, the joint overnight leader, with defending champion Adam Scott on eight-under. Stadler shot a 69 on Friday following his first-round 64 to hold second place by two shots.

At the end of the day Scott was locked in a three-way battle for third with fellow Australians Tony Carolan and Richard Green, all nine-under for the tournament.

Welshman Ian Wooosnam also missed the cut after scoring a 74 to go with his opening round 71, but Argentina’s Angel Cabrera scrambled over the line with a four-under 68 to be three under for the tournament.

Former US Masters champion Fred Couples also made a run at the leaderboard shooting a 67 to be six under for the tournament. Australian Gary Simpson made amends for an opening day 75, hitting a sizzling course-record of nine-under 63.