Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NC State alum Albin Choi Wins Cardinal Classic at Diamondhead CC

Team Canada Member earns 2nd Web start - at BMW Charity Pro-Am Championship Exemption - with back-to-back wins on the SwingThought Tour

(Diamondhead, Miss.) – When NC State alum Albin Choi decided to join the SwingThought Tour for the 2015 season even he could not have foreseen the success he would have so quickly on the nations number three tour. Two events in and the 22 year old Team Canada member out of Toronto has found himself at the top of each. The back to back wins have earned him $40,000 as well as back to back starts on the Tour, where he made 10 cuts in nineteen starts in 2014 with three top 25 finishes.

His back to back wins on the ST Tour have earned him a return to the PGA TOUR’s official developmental tour with starts into this year’s United Leasing Championship held in Evansville, Ind. April 30th through May 3rd, and the BMW Charity Pro-Am Championship held in Greenville, S.C. May 14th through 17th. Choi will be looking to repeat what many SwingThought Tour alums have done in the past, most recently by this past week’s Tour Brasil Open winner Peter Malnati when in 2013 he started as a member on the SwingThought Tour (formerly the NGA/Hooters Tour) and went on to win on the Tour in the same year.

Two-time ST Tour Player of the Year Ted Potter Jr accomplished the feat in 2011 while fellow alum Robert Streb, who currently sits 5th in the FedExCup Points Standing, accomplished the feat in 2012.

The win for Choi did not come without drama. After setting the course record 65 in the opening round on Wednesday and following up with a second round 67 on Thursday, the Valdosta winner was looking to head into round 3 with a three shot lead over New Mexico alum James Erkenbeck, out of San Diego. However Friday was a wash due to weather and the event was shortened to 54-holes with a Saturday finish. And on Saturday Choi would let the field back in standing at one over par for the day after 17 holes.

Chas Narramore, out of Middle Tennessee State, was the first to get into the clubhouse at 11 under after a chip-in eagle on 18 from the greenside bunker and, for the moment, was in a three-way tie with Choi and Erkenbeck for the lead.

Stetson alum Sam Ryder was next to get to 11 under in the clubhouse after getting up and down from the fringe on 18 for birdie. That left Choi and Erkenbeck on 18 tee in a four way tie for the lead. After solid drives by both, Choi put his 2nd shot on the green leaving about 17 feet for eagle. Erkenbeck however found the greenside bunker and was left with a lie that had him standing outside the bunker on a downhill slope to attempt his 3rd shot. Not fazed, Erkenbeck hit perhaps the best shot of the tournament, placing his ball a foot from the cup while falling down on his follow through. The attempt left a tap in birdie and after a two putt by Choi the players were headed back to 18 tee to playoff for the win. Both players would birdie 18 and head back to the tee to play 18 again in the 2nd hole of the playoff. The third time on 18 would see Choi put his 2nd shot deep right side of the green leaving a long attempt at eagle while Erkenbeck’s approach shot came up short right leaving himself with a pitch attempt. Erkenbeck’s 3rd shot would just barely make it on the green leaving a long putt for birdie. Choi would then attempt eagle and came up just short left, leaving himself a tap in for birdie. Erkenbeck’s birdie putt just lipped out on the right leaving Choi to tap in for the win.

Choi earned $20,000 and an exemption into the 2015 BMW Charity Pro-Am Championship presented by SYNNEX Corporation with the win. Erkenbeck earned $9,985 for runner up while Narramore and Ryder each earned $7,385 for finishing tied 3rd.

For full 2015 Pine Classic at Diamondhead Country Club results, visit

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