Yang Delivers Shanghai Delight at Hsbc Champions

Sun 12 Nov 2006

Yang Delivers Shanghai Delight at Hsbc Champions

Shanghai, November 12: Korean 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 cheque.

“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.”

Goosen’s 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 three events.

“I basically said to myself just think positive,” he said. “That’s 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

Huge crowds follow Tiger Woods278 - 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