Walking up the 18 green, Choi knew he could not afford to drop a shot as that would leave the door open for Park to force a three-hole play-off with him at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club.
The 30-year-old steadied his nerves and could not contain his delight when he watched his putt from 10-feet drop into the cup.
Choi’s final round two-under-par 69 not only confirmed him as the newest champion of his National Open but also earned him a ticket to The Open in Carnoustie next month, with the Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship part of The Open Qualifying Series this year.
“I felt very nervous especially walking up to 18 hole as I knew I could not afford to drop a shot there, knowing that Sanghyun had done very well. But somehow I managed to compose myself and close with a birdie. This win goes out to my family and sponsors who have been behind me in every step of my career. I would not have come this far without their support. I’m really excited about going to Carnoustie and play in my first Major! It’s like a dream come true and no words can express how delighted I’m right now. There will be many world class players at The Open and I can’t wait to compete against them”, said Choi.
A fast-charging Sanghyun had earlier surmounted a late challenge when he stormed towards the finishing line with two birdies in his last four holes.
But after closing with a four-day total of 12-under-par 272 and watching Choi sign off with a winning birdie, Park eventually settled for second place at the KR?1,200,000,000 (approx. US$1,125,000) event.
Koreans continued to dominate their National Open with only Americans Kevin Na and John Catlin breaking into the top-10 with their tied-fifth finish.