Yang beats major champions and claims biggest career win
Yang Yong-eun upstaged the biggest names in world golf to win the
HSBC Champions on Sunday, standing firm on a thrilling final day
against the combined challenges from Major champions Tiger Woods,
Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell.
A final round of three-under-par 69 gave Yang a winning 14-under-par
total of 274, two ahead of world number one Woods, who battled bravely
with a 67 in his attempt to win a seventh successive strokeplay
event but simply had too much ground to make up.
Campbell, in stark contrast to his third round 77, equalled the
course record of 64 at Sheshan International Golf Club with some
stunning golf to share third place with overnight leader Goosen
but, like Woods, the 2005 US Open Champion had left himself with
too much to do.
This is such a big thing that's happening to me right now,
such a big moment in my life, that it's really hard for me to explain
in words how I feel, said Yang, whose triumph was his third
of the year after earlier victories on the Asian and Japan Tours.
Goosen started strongly with birdies on the second and third holes
to pull two strokes clear but the Korean edged ahead with three
consecutive birdies from the sixth and when Goosen bogeyed both
the 10th and 11th holes, the Korean turned the screw with a birdie
two on the 12th to move four strokes ahead. With the winning line
in sight, Yang could allow himself the luxury of two late bogeys
and claimed the US$833,300 first prize, by far his biggest career
At the start of this week, I noticed that this tournament
has a great field and if I were to win it, it would have been worth
a lot of World Ranking points. So now that I've won, I expect to
play a lot of tournaments.
"I want to play a lot of tournaments overseas. I just want
to be able to compete with the best players in the world, and I
think this win has given me that chance," added the 77th-ranked
Yang, who will break into the world's top-40 when the Official World
Golf Ranking is updated on Monday.
Woods got his challenge going with a burst of three birdies before
the turn but his momentum faltered with a bogey on the 11th. Although
he birdied three more coming home, it was not enough.
I had my chances, said Woods, who was also runner-up
in the HSBC Champions last year. Yesterday was the day, if
I could have hung in there, I could have been a challenge for the
tournament today but I was too far back and Yang just went on and
played some great holes. He just went off and it was basically out
of reach, and I was just trying to get as many birdies as I can
and maybe get second.
Goosens challenge faltered over the back nine as he ran up
four bogeys for an inward 39 and a round of 73. When Yang was faltering,
Goosen failed to take advantage, missing birdie opportunities on
the 16th and 17th holes and then dumping an approach into water
at the par five closing hole as his title hopes drowned.
On the back nine, I hit a couple of bad shots off the tee
and didn't really give myself any birdie chances, said the
world number six. You know, I struggled with my swing out
there so I didn't hit it as good as I would have liked to have hit
it. Yang played very well, consistent. He made those good run of
birdies there on. I hit a lot of good putts, just didn't make things.
After the disappointment of a third round 77, Campbell roared back
to life with a stunning 64 to claim a share of third place, giving
the New Zealander plenty of confidence going into his next run of
I basically said to myself just think positive, he said.
Thats it really. Simple stuff. Yesterday, I was unlucky
on a lot of occasions with wind swirling around and gusting and
blowing my putts off line, bad lies. I hope I have had all my bad
luck for the year in one day.
Today was completely different. Everything was great. Missed
two fairways all day and hit it close. I believe if you fill your
mind with positives thoughts it will help you perform well.
Yang's stunning triumph marked an extended run of form for Asian
players on the international stage following Indian Jeev Milkha
Singh's recent victory at the Volvo Masters in Spain and Choi Kyung-ju's
triumph on the US PGA Tour.
Singh finished tied 17th on 283 while compatriot Jyoti Randhawa,
who was two shots off the pace after the third round, settled for
tied ninth place alongside Choi on 281.
Yang's triumph in what is the opening event of the 2007 European
Tour season sees him move into top spot of the Order of Merit as
he immediately took up membership with the Tour.
The HSBC Champions is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European
Tour, Southern African Sunshine Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and
China Golf Association.
Leading final round scores
274 - Yang Yong-eun (KOR) 66-72-67-69
276 - Tiger Woods (USA) 72-64-73-67
277 - Retief Goosen (RSA) 68-67-69-73, Michael Campbell (NZL) 66-70-77-64
278 - Marc Warren (SCO) 66-71-70-71
280 - Paul Casey (ENG) 73-68-68-71, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 67-70-73-70,
Robert Karlsson (SWE) 73-68-69-70
281 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 65-69-72-75, Francesco Molinari (ITA)
72-68-69-72, K J Choi (KOR) 68-72-71-70, Johan Edfors (SWE) 68-74-69-70,
Jim Furyk (USA) 73-66-74-68
282 - John Bickerton (ENG) 68-71-71-72, Luke Donald (ENG) 70-69-71-72,
Colin Montgomerie (SCO) 69-70-76-67
283 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 70-69-71-73
284 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 76-64-70-74, Shiv Kapur (IND) 71-67-74-72
285 - Bradley Dredge (WAL) 71-70-70-74, Nick O'Hern (AUS) 72-69-71-73,
Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 72-72-71-70
286 - Anton Haig (RSA) 71-71-72-72, Kevin Stadler (USA) 74-70-71-71,
Camilo Villegas (COL) 71-71-75-69
287 - Gaurav Ghei (IND) 72-70-71-74, Chris Dimarco (USA) 70-74-73-70
November 12, 2006