Choi's equipment changes paying off at Augusta

K.J. Choi of South Korea hits a shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.

K.J. Choi of South Korea hits a shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – K.J. Choi’s arms were two centimeters too long to be a successful weightlifter.

They seem perfectly fine for the game of golf.

Choi, a former teenage weightlifter that was pushed away from the sport by his honest Korean coach, fired a 2-under 70 to sit in solo second place midway through the second round of the Masters. After Jason Day turned in a 64, Choi moved into third.

“On the front nine, I had a good start, but you know, making the turn, I felt the wind was changing,” said Choi. “Plus on top of that, the pin positions were pretty difficult, but I kept – my swing rhythm was pretty good throughout the whole round. Although I bogeyed the last hole, I think my demeanor is still good, and I’m looking forward to the next two days.

“I got off to a good start on the front nine (on Friday),” said Choi, who finished third in the 2004 Masters. “(On the back nine) I felt the wind was changing and the pin positions were difficult. But my demeanor is still good.”

While his weightlifting career may not have paid off, a gamble Choi has taken by carrying four hybrids in his bag seems to be working. He had two in the bag at Doral and three in the bag at Bay Hill.

“Three weeks ago, I felt the need, in order to contend at major tournaments, I felt the need to get the ball up in the air better, higher, and to be able to stop the ball on the greens better,” explained Choi, who has seven PGA Tour victories under his belt. “And that’s why I put the hybrids in the bag.

“You know, when I actually tried it, it made my par 3s much easier to play. I still don’t feel like I’m 100 percent comfortable with those hybrids, but I still plan on continuing to use them, because at least I believe that – and my coach believes, that you need at least three weeks to get used to any new change that you make, whether it’s clubs or swing or whatever it is.”

Choi’s comfortability on the par 3s was evident with two birdies on Nos. 4 and 6, and pars on the tough Nos. 12 and 16.

Choi likened his commitment to the hybrids as part of his personality.

“I think my personality is that I want to try – whatever is in my mind, I have to get it out. I have to try it and test it out. That’s just the type of person I am,” said Choi. “I think the worst thing you can do to yourself is wanting to do something, but not having the courage to do it. And I don’t want to be the type of person that regrets not testing something out when I feel that it’s right.”

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