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Yang becomes first Asian major champion

CHASKA, August 17 – South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun became the first Asian to capture a major championship Sunday, doing the unthinkable by rallying past Tiger Woods for one of the biggest upsets in golf history.YANG_YONG_247768697.jpgThe 37-year-old fired a two-under par 70 to win the 91st PGA Championship by three strokes over the world number one, snapping Woods’s perfect 14-0 record when leading a major tournament after 54 holes.

The 110th-ranked Asian dynamo went into the final round a heavy underdog as he had only one US PGA victory to 70 career wins and 14 major titles for Woods.

"It will be a crazy party tonight for my friends," Yang said. "I knew the odds were against me. I just tried to be the least nervous I have ever been."

There is a long list of challengers and would-be major champions who have wilted under Woods’s final-round glare but Yang would not go away without a fight at Hazeltine National Golf Club, the longest course in major history.

"It wasn’t as nerve wracking as I thought it might be," Yang said. "When I saw the pairings the night before I was really happy to be in the final group of a major. My heart was pounding and nearly exploded.

"I had a rough night but as soon as I got to the first tee I became myself. It is what I have always sort of envisioned."

Yang, who didn’t take up golf until age 19, spoiled Woods’s bid to win the PGA for a record-tying fifth time. Yang finished 72 holes on eight-under par 280.

Woods, who went into the day with a two-shot lead, shot a three-over 75 to reach five-under 283 for the tournament.

"He played beautifully," Woods said of Yang. "He did the things he needed to do. He was driving the ball in play, hitting the ball in the correct parts of the green.

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"I was certainly in control of the tournament for most of the day. I just didn’t make the putts I needed to make."

England’s Lee Westwood and rising star Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tied for third, five shots back of Yang and one ahead of US Open champion Lucas Glover.

Yang set the stage for the birdie on 18 with a brilliant 202-yard approach shot that sailed over a tree and rolled onto the green.

"I thought if I aim true and make a good shot that I have a good chance to seal the deal," Yang said. "I knew Tiger could always have a bad day so I guess this was that day."

Yang, who earned 1.35 million dollars in prize money, clinched the win with a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th. He then celebrated by hoisting his golf bag in the air with both hands before taking possession of the Wanamaker Trophy.

"It sure is a great day," Yang said. "It hasn’t completely sunk in but I realize the significance of it."

He not only becomes the first Asian to win a major, he also bettered the previous best performance by a South Korean. His compatriot K.J. Choi was third in the 2004 Masters tournament.

The win beats the top prior major peformances by an Asian of Taiwan’s Huan Lu-Liang, who finished runner-up in the 1971 British Open, and Japan’s Isao Aoki, who placed second in the 1980 US Open. Taiwan’s Chen Tze-Chung also tied for second at the 1985 US Open.

"You knew it was just a matter of time before an Asian-born player was going to win," Woods said. "We had a lot of great players over the years starting with Jumbo (Masashi Ozaki) and Isao (Aoki) has come close."

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Yang’s round included 13 pars, two birdies, two bogeys and chip in for eagle on 14 to take the lead.

Woods was seeking his first major win of the season after missing the cut in the British Open and sharing sixth at the Masters and US Open. He did not play in last year’s PGA because he was recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.

Yang took the lead for the first time on 14 to reach eight-under. Yang made his lengthy chip in and Woods answered by rolling in a 12-foot putt for birdie to stay one back of Yang as the two slugged it out down the stretch.

Woods parred the first three holes of the round before making the first of his five bogeys for the second-straight day on the par-three fourth hole and then doing it again on No. 8.

Woods three-putted No. 4, missing a routine four-footer to the right side of the hole.

"I just didn’t make the putts when I needed to," Woods said. "I had a few misreads out there."

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Gichira Peter

    January 23, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Othaya debacle will go down as the utmost display of IMPUNITY in the 2013 party primaries. It is unbelievable that even after the people of Othaya made their choice of their MP, the TNA secretariat had the audecity to overturn the peoples choice. Since the 2007 elections, I have been one of those people who have bought the populist idea that the elections were rigged at ECK tallying centre in favour of President Kibaki. As a political scientist, I know that there are many things around elections that can be used to justify a claim of rigging. However, a repeat of the same thing in the Othaya nominations, I am convinced that, for the last five years, I have been wrong. I do not know what that speaks about TNA and its leadership but I would really wish that the TNA secretariat can prove me wrong on this. I am also wondering why, as an ordinary citizen, less powerful than Mary Wamboi, I should trust them on delivering on my demands. This is completely against the spirit of democracy, god faith and our new constitutional dispensation. Or is TNA bent to prove that it cannot be entrusted with the implementation of peoples decisions including the constitution? I am simply asking you sir, this question. After TNA has proved that the say of my fellow ordinary Kenyas means nothing to it,WHAT VALID REASON WOULD I HAVE TO VOTE TNA CANDIDATES COME MARCH 4th???

    • paul

      January 23, 2013 at 9:20 am

      I totally concur with you on this Mr Gichira. And being the leader you are Bwana Uhuru, this would have presented an opportune time for you to provide some leadership on this critical matter but alas what do we see? some PR script that’s goes to show how much TNA disregards the voice and choice of the people! If i read these as tell tale signs, i fear what would happen if you and your team get the power!!!

  2. Kwessi Pratt

    January 24, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Obviously, TNA nominations failed the test because, even with all sacks of money, organization has never been your best points. Any other party with the kind of money TNA has would have done miracles. There is no learning in ineptitudeness. A supposed “digital leader” cant be associated with the sort of confusion that pervaded in those polls. Kenyans would have taken you seriously had you performed better. However, now its pretty clear you are only playing with words, if not minds of Kenyans!

    With Othaya nomination debacle, Kenyans are sure jubilee alliance CANT change things at all. All this bravado songs of “promising and delivering” are no more than hot air. People priding themselves for better things CANT start by robbing citizens their right to elect a leader of their choice. Even if Madam Mary Wambui was given the TNA ticket, it wont be because the party love democracy. But rather because of the outcry that followed the attempted thievery!

    Your interview with arab television channel also offered another impunity side of you sir. You stated that if Kenyans elected you president, they would have assaulted authority of ICC! Which brings back to what we have been saying all along that you are using them as your shield! Rolling out tribal politics and buying support is totally different from being freely elected by citizens of this country! And not only that, being elected on basis of your manifesto doesnt amount to washing out your suspected criminal aspect. Infact, as I have said before, you are presenting us with shocking naivety! Who said being elected proves your innocence? I thought election and due process of the law are totally two different things!

    You are certainly telling us that you will defy ICC when supposedly get elected. Neverthelss, that would result in harmful actions by international community against the country. Of course, sanctions will come crashing on us. Is that ok with you? You feel your presidency would be far better than the country? And dont you know since you wont be enjoying any shred of international immunity if elected, the chances are that you will be humiliated by being arrested by foreign forces on the streets of Nairobi? All former leaders including former military officers from former Yogoslavia were arrested by foreign special forces and taken to the Hague. How then does you hope to get over such a situation? And would an innocent person declare in advance that mere political election cleanses himself? You need to think very carefully Mr. Uhuru! Otherwise, you will go in history as somebody who brought the country in to harms way. Also dont forget there are countries who are waiting for us to make a mistake so that they can finish us off!!!!

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