Yang earns first PGA Tour title|
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (Sports Network) - Y.E. Yang birdied three straight
holes on the front nine Sunday, then hung on to defeat John Rollins and win
the Honda Classic by a single stroke.
Yang, who entered the event ranked 460th in the world, shot a two-under 68 and
completed his first PGA Tour title at nine-under-par 271. His best previous
finish on the PGA Tour was a share of ninth at last year's AT&T Pebble Beach
He joined K.J. Choi as the only two Koreans to win on the PGA Tour.
"I'm just very happy right now for the way I played today," said Yang through
a translator. "Before I went out this morning, my coach told me not to rush
anything and keep your own routine, take it steady, and that's what I did
Rollins birdied four of five holes around the turn and got within one thanks
to a birdie on the 18th, but it wasn't enough. He closed with a three-under 67
on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa to take second place at
Ben Crane, who had the lead at one point during the third round, closed with a
two-under 68 to finish alone in third at six-under-par 274. Jeff Klauk took
fourth at minus-five after stumbling to a one-over 71 on Sunday
Yang led by one to start the round and quickly pulled away from the field. He
drained a 20-footer for birdie on the par-five third to push his lead to two
The Korean made it two in a row with an 11-footer for birdie at four. Yang
dropped his tee shot within four feet at the fifth and drained that birdie
effort to move to 10-under, where he led by four strokes.
Yang's birdie run was stopped by a bogey on the sixth. He recovered that lost
stroke with a 19-foot birdie putt at eight.
He parred three straight from the ninth. Yang climbed to 11-under with an
eight-foot birdie putt at 12. His lead was four at that point, but it started
Yang, who took down Tiger Woods at the 2008 HSBC Champions event on the
European Tour, bogeyed the 15th and 17th after finding sand off the tee at
Needing par at the par-five 18th to secure the win, Yang played his third 50
feet left of the hole. He calmly rolled his birdie effort within two feet and
kicked that in to secure his first tour win and a trip back to Augusta
for the Masters.
"I thought I was only going to the Masters once, which was my dream, but now
that I'm going back again, I'm going to have fun over there," said Yang, who
collected $1,008,000 for the win.
Rollins was three back to start the round and opened with six consecutive
pars. He stumbled to a bogey on the seventh, but flew up the leaderboard with
four birdies in his next five holes to jump into contention at minus-eight.
The 33-year-old Rollins tripped to a bogey on the 15th. He recovered that
stroke with a six-foot birdie putt at the last to finish one back.
"I'm proud of myself. I played well all week and just to give myself that
opportunity coming down the stretch ... that's what we're here for," Rollins
said. "I did that, just one short, but a great week."
First-round leader Robert Allenby closed with an even-par 70 to share fifth
place at four-under-par 276. He was joined there by Fredrik Jacobson (70),
Will MacKenzie (70) and Scott Piercy (65).
03/08 18:54:28 ET