Yang eases the pressure with victory
GOLF TOUR SCENE:YE YANG admitted his two-shot victory at the Volvo China Open would go a long way to relieving some of the pressure following last year’s PGA Championship victory, but the Korean thinks he still has some way to go so silence all of 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 Welsh duo Rhys Davies and Stephen Dodd and secured a deserved first win since becoming Asia’s first major winner after overcoming Tiger Woods at Hazeltine last August.
But even though the 2009 Honda Classic winner, who also finished eighth at the Masters, also beat Woods when the former weightlifter first rose to international prominence with victory at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the end of 2006, Yang knows he still has something to prove.
“It was quite important for me to win,” he said.
“There should 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,” added Yang, who finished third at the Phoenix Open earlier this year.
“There have been a lot of expectations of me after the 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.”
Yang never lost his overnight lead and was only briefly joined at the top of the leaderboard although three key scrambles from the deep-sided pot bunkers on the back nine were needed as he recorded 50 holes without a dropped shot before shipping a bogey on the final green with the win already assured.
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 the scores wouldn’t be a low as the other rounds so I approached in a conservative way,” he added.
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.
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.”
Best of the Irish was Graeme McDowell, who claimed a top-10 place with a final round of 70 for 10-under-par 278, while Damien McGrane shot 71 for a seven-under-par 281. Shane Lowry added a one-over-par 73 to finish on five-under 283 while a shot further back was Peter Lawrie after a final round 73. Gareth Maybin fired a 71 for a one-under-par 281.