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Yang celebrates historic win
South Korean beats Tiger Woods to become Asia's first Major winner.
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2009 09:57 GMT

Yang celebrates a birdie putt on the 18th green as Tiger Woods looks on [GALLO/GETTY]
South Korean Yang Yong-eun became Asia's first male major winner after overhauling Tiger Woods in stunning fashion to clinch the US PGA Championship by three shots in Minnesota.

Trailing American world number one and overwhelming favourite Woods by two strokes overnight, Yang, ranked 110th, kept his composure in difficult, swirling winds at Hazeltine National to fire a two-under-par 70.

He snatched the lead for the first time when he spectacularly chipped in from just off the green to eagle the par-four 14th on the way to an eight-under total of 280.

Although the ice-cool Korean three-putted the 17th for his second bogey of the day, he finished in style, striking a superb three-iron approach from 210 yards over a tree to 10 feet at the par-four last and coolly sinking the birdie putt.

He punched his right fist in celebration before raising both hands above his head to acknowledge the roars from the huge gallery packed around the 18th green.

Big win

"This means the world to me right now," a beaming Yang, 37, said, speaking through an interpreter.

"It hasn't really sunken in, but I do know the significance of it.

"I wasn't that nervous because it's just a game of golf.

"I've tried to master the art of controlling my emotions throughout my career and I think it turned out well today."

Although relatively unknown in the United States, Yang won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic in March and held off Woods to win the 2007 European Tour's Champions tournament in China.

Woods, in pursuit of a 15th major title but his first this year, missed four birdie putts from 12 feet or less to card an erratic 75 featuring five bogeys and two birdies.

The 33-year-old, renowned as the best closer in the game, stumbled to the finish line with bogeys on the last two holes.

It was the first time Woods failed to triumph in a major after holding at least a share of the lead after 54 holes, having accomplished the feat to clinch his 14 previous titles.

Woods rues his costly day on the greens [GALLO/GETTY]
'Terrible day'

"I hit the ball so much better than my score indicates," Woods said after totalling 33 putts.

"I made absolutely nothing. I just had a terrible day on the greens.

"I was certainly in control of the tournament for most of the day, but just didn't make anything. I did everything I needed to do except for getting the ball in the hole.

"Y.E. played great all day," added Woods, who had been bidding for a third consecutive PGA Tour win.

"He did things he needed to do. He was driving the ball in play, hitting the ball in the correct parts of the green and giving himself looks."

Scoring was difficult in gusting winds at Hazeltine, at 7,674 yards the longest layout to stage a major and playing even longer after being softened by overnight rain.

Two ahead of the chasing pack at the start of the day, Woods twice dropped back into a tie for the lead with Yang after covering the front nine in two-over-par 38.

Woods edged a stroke in front with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 11th before faltering at the 12th where he overshot the green with his approach and chipped 17 feet past the cup.

Yang then grabbed the outright lead with his stunning chip at the 301-yard 14th, holing out from rough beside a greenside bunker and pumping his right fist three times in celebration.

Woods, who had found the same bunker off the tee, splashed out to seven feet and knocked in the putt to keep the deficit to one, but he was never able to close the gap.

Britons Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy signed off with matching 70s to share third place at three-under 285.

Holder Padraig Harrington, tied for second overnight, tumbled backwards into a tie for 10th at level par, the Irishman carding 78 after finding water twice on the eighth to run up an ugly quintuple-bogey eight.

Source:
Agencies
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