June 14th, 2024

Choi enjoys big return at Alberta Mens Amateur Championship

By Dale Woodard on July 31, 2021.

For Ethan Choi, it was simply good to be back.

And so, the 19-year-old from Pincher Creek went out and nearly won the Alberta Mens Amateur Championship to celebrate.

It didn’t quite work out that way, but it was close for the member of the Lethbridge Country Club as Choi shot a three-day three-under total of 207 to finish tied for third at this year’s Amateur Championship, which took place at The Calgary Golf and Country Club.

The person he finished tied with? None other than fellow southern Alberta golfer Paxton Maxwell of Magrath, who shot 71 on the final day to tie Choi, two strokes behind overall winner Braden O’Grady of the Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove.

No matter what the final leaderboard said, it was simply great to be back in the swing of things for Choi.

“It was fun just competing,” he said.

“I’ve had two events this year and just not much going on with COVID and quarantining and things like that. I was just trying to make the most of the two events I played in. So it was a lot of fun just competing again. It was even better being in the mix. It was a lot of fun just seeing all my friends again from junior golf.”

Choi shot 69 on the opening day Tuesday and followed that up with a 71 Wednesday.

He saved his lowest round for the last day with a 67 to keep himself in the race.

“My game was pretty solid overall,” said Choi, who was playing in his third amateur, having placed seventh in 2017. “I could’ve sharpened it up a little bit, just some tee shots and putting down the stretch. That could be a little better, but overall I would say it was pretty solid and the course that we played at was just unbelievable. It was a treat. I had my dad (Sheldon) caddying for me, so that was really nice and we had a lot of fun out there.”

Choi rolled in four birdies on the front nine in the final round for a 31 at the turn.

“Off the tee I wasn’t great the first two days, so it was just getting myself into position where I could give myself lots of birdie chances,” said Choi.

“I knew they would fall at some point. So it was just to keep giving myself opportunities. I was trying to be as aggressive as I could and make as many putts as I could because I had to make up some ground. So I thought ‘Let’s just go for it.'”

But bogeys on the 15th, 17th 18th holes allowed O’Grady to pull away.

“It’s tough but that’s golf,” said Choi.

“On 15 it was just kind of a miscalculation with the wind. I air mailed the green and I was honestly happy with the bogey, just walk away. On 16 I had a good birdie chance, but it didn’t fall.”

On 17 I had a pretty solid iron shot and then kind of blew it by a little bit and just didn’t make the comebacker. On 18 I got a bad break in the bunker. I didn’t have a stance at all in the bunker so I just hacked it out, got it on the green and two putted.”

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