Yang flies flag for Korea at Honda Classic

Yang Yong-eun became only the second Korean to win on the US PGA Tour when he lifted the Honda Classic, holding on in the final round to score a one-shot victory at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida.

Joining compatriot KJ Choi as South Korea’s flag carriers on the global circuit, Yang is most famous for beating Tiger Woods at the HSBC Champions tournament in 2006 in Shanghai.

He proved that he belongs with a world-class crowd by two-putting from 50 feet on the par-five 18th to beat John Rollins to the title.

Although Woods was not in the field, Yang said this victory was more important than the Shanghai one, which helped him get to the 2007 Masters but also coincided with a drop in form. He was quoted by AFP as saying:

“This win is the biggest win of my career. It definitely takes over the HSBC Champions win in 2006. My dream was to play in the Masters. When I got invited, I had actually realised my dream. After that, I think my passion for the game went down a little bit. I took things for granted. After winning today, I realise that there’s a bigger goal out there. I would like to see myself achieve bigger things.”

Yang shot two-under-par 68 in the final round for his total of nine-under 271, maintaining the one-stroke lead he held overnight. He was fairly comfortable for most of the round but bogeys at the 15th and 17th allowed Rollins to close the gap.

Rollins finished with a three-under-par 67 to just miss out on a play-off.

There was more glory for South Korea on the other side of the world with Shin Ji-yai winning the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament in Singapore.

The 21-year-old overcame a five-stroke overnight deficit to shoot six-under-par 66 and claim a two-shot triumph over Australian Katherin Hull.

It was her fourth victory on the LPGA Tour in and strengthened her status as one of the world’s best female players.

Hull had a four-shot lead at the 13 hole but then collapsed with four dropped shots on the next five holes to allow the fifth-ranked Shin an opening, which she grabbed with both hands as she totalled 11-under-par 277.

Tied for third place at eight-under were Angela Park (68), Paula Creamier (70) and Angela Standford (73).

Meanwhile, India’s Jyoti Randhawa captured his eighth title on the Asian Tour when he won the Thailand Open on the resort island of Phuket.

Randhawa, 36, shot a five-under-par 65 in the final round for a total of 263 and a two-stroke victory over Welshman Rhys Davies, who closed with 67.

Taiwan’s Lu Wei-chih was third, one stroke behind Davies on 266 after his fourth round of 65.

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