Yang’s China win will make life easier
YE Yang’s victory at the Volvo China Open will take away some of the pressure following his PGA victory last year.
YE Yang’s victory at the Volvo China Open on Sunday will take away some of the pressure on him to prove his US PGA victory last year was no fluke.
But the 38-year-old Korean, Asia’s first-ever major winner, believes he still has some way to go to silence his critics.
The 38-year-old produced a chipping and putting master-class on a damp final day as a one-under-par 71 final round edged out the Welsh duo of Rhys Davies and Stephen Dodd and secured a deserved first win since overcoming Tiger Woods at Hazeltine last August.
But even though the 2009 Honda Classic winner, a former weight-lifter who only discoverede golf at 18, also finished eighth at the Masters, and can boast that he also beat Woods at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the end of 2006, believes he can still do more.
“It was quite important for me to win,” he said, speaking in halting English or through an interpreter.
“There may be some doubters about my game and I know that this win won’t abolish all those doubts, but I think it will alleviate me of some of the pressure and unseen pressure those doubters have been throwing at me
“There have been a lot of expectations of me after the (PGA) win and it does feel good and alleviating, but I know I still have to work a lot more.
“Last year after the PGA Championship I tried to continue that streak and it didn’t come naturally, but this year maybe because it is a new year, it certainly feels like it is a continuation of the season.
“I have had a few good finishes and now this wonderful win, so I think that I am on the right track,” added Yang, who finished third at the Phoenix Open earlier this year.
On Sunday Yang never lost his overnight lead and although he was briefly joined at the top of the leaderboard and had to thrice scramble from deep-sided pot bunkers on the back nine to take to 50 the number of holes he played without a dropped shot, he was eventually a comfortable winners as virtually all of his closest pursuers lost shots coming down the closing stretch
He did too – on the unforgiving 18th where sp many others finished with bogeys, but by then he had a three shot lead and losing one of them made no difference to thye eventual result.
He was also superb on the greens with only one missed short birdie putt of note on the back nine, although the flat and slow greens at Jinji Lakes were in stark comparison to the undulating and lightning quick surfaces found at Augusta.
“I knew that starting off the weather was not going to co-operate so I knew that the scores wouldn’t be a low as the other rounds so I approached in a conservative way and although I made two birdies, I also tried very hard not to make any bogeys and keep a clean sheet,” he added.
“I did encounter a few tough spots, especially when I landed in the sand, but I was quite successful with my sand save ratio and saved a lot of pars to win the tournament.”
Davies, fresh from winning his maiden European Tour title in Morocco last month, also produced his own bogey-free run as the Challenge Tour graduate produced flawless rounds of 65 and 67 over the weekend to extend his tally to 43 error-free holes after sitting 49th following two rounds.
“I really gave it a go on the front nine but I am little disappointed I didn’t capitalise on the back nine,” said the 24-year-old.
“I am real believer in that once you get it going you put your foot down, that couldn’t happen but I will take that.”
Former champion Dodd dropped just one shot in a final round 69 to claim a first top 10 finish since last May and best finish since winning the third of his career titles at the 2006 European Open.
“I am pleased with the way I have played this week, my short game was key. I haven’t hit the ball how I wanted to, but from 120 yards in it has been as good as I have wanted,” said the 43-year-old 2004 Volvo China Open winner.
“It’s not that far behind the winner, but far enough off at the end of the day. But I have not been showing a lot of form so it was nice to get a good result.”
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