PGA Tour stars Choi and Na favorites at OneAsia's SK Telecom Open

08:55, May 20, 2010      

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PGA Tour stars Choi Kyung-Ju, who turned 40 on Wednesday, and Kevin Na headline this week's SK Telecom Open as each aims to secure their first OneAsia title.

Choi played down the significance of his birthday on May 19 as the seven-time PGA Tour winner aims for a record fourth victory in the SK Telecom Open, which is again being held at the Sky 72 Golf Club near Incheon International Airport.

"I've been receiving birthday presents and flowers from many people, which is nice, but it's not really a special occasion for me. In our traditional culture, I think my birthday will be sometime in June, but I've yet to figure out exactly when," said Choi, who finished joint fourth at the Masters last month.

Park No-Seok won three of the first four editions of the SK Telecom Open after it was launched in 1997 and Choi matched his tally two years ago when he won for the third time after earlier victories in 2003 and 2005.

Choi, who tied for sixth last year, was in a relaxed mood as he played a practice round with 2007 champion Bae Sang-Moon and Kim Dae-Hyun, both of whom he hosted at his home in Texas last December.

Embracing his role as a mentor to South Korea's young stars, Choi offered high hopes for 23-year-old Bae, winner of the last two Korean Tour Order of Merit titles, and Kim, the big-hitting 22-year-old who secured his first OneAsia win at this month's GS Caltex Maekyung Open.

"Both Sang-Moon and Dae-Hyun visited me in Texas and we spent some good time practicing together. They have no problem with hitting the ball far and straight. They're flexible and well conditioned for golf because they started young," said Choi, the current world number 37.

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