PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Na Yeon Choi says her feet have barely touched ground since her victory Saturday at the Coates Golf Championship in the LPGA season opener.
“I feel like I have to calm down a little bit, because I feel like I’m still so high,” Choi said Tuesday after playing nine holes at the Ocean Club Golf Course in preparation for this week’s Pure Silk Bahamas Classic. “Just keep focused and stay calm.”
Choi said she was so exhausted after claiming her eighth LPGA title, she didn’t dare have a sip of champagne to celebrate. Instead, she had a quiet dinner with her mother. She was, however, grateful so many of her tour friends stuck around to douse her in bubbly on the 18th green at Golden Ocala after she won. Eun-Hee Ji, Ilhee Lee, Amy Yang, Mirim Lee, Jennifer Song and So Yeon Ryu gave Choi a good champagne soaking.
Choi said even she had her doubts about breaking a two-year winless drought after what happened on the 15th green in the final round at Golden Ocala. That’s where she stuck her approach shot to 5 feet and then 3-putted for bogey after watching Lydia Ko drain a 60-foot birdie putt. Choi went from looking as if she were going to go two shots up on Ko to trailing her by one shot.
Walking off the green, a dejected Choi turned to her caddie, David Jones.
“See, I can’t win,” Choi said.
Choi said Jones immediately picked her up.
“No, no, no, there are three holes left,” Jones told her. “Just keep focused on the next shot.”
With the pressure intensifying, Choi took advantage with Ko shanking a shot in the woods at the 17th and then skulling a chip over the green at the 18th.
Choi says she is ready to get back to business because she feels good about her chances again this week. Choi tied for third at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic a year ago. When she tees it up Thursday, she will be trying to become the first player to win the first two events in an LPGA season since Ai Miyazato did it five years ago.