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Golf: Yang stuns Tiger to win PGA Championship



South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun became the first Asian to capture a major championship today, doing the unthinkable by rallying past Tiger Woods for one of the biggest upsets in golf history.

The 37-year-old fired a two-under par 70 to win the 91st PGA Championship by three strokes over the world number one, snapping Woods's perfect 14-0 record when leading a major tournament after 54 holes.

The 110th-ranked Asian dynamo went into the final round a heavy underdog as he had only one US PGA victory to 70 career wins and 14 major titles for Woods.

"It will be a crazy party tonight for my friends," Yang said. "I knew the odds were against me. I just tried to be the least nervous I have ever been."

Yang didn't take up golf until age 19 and after serving in the South Korean military, he travelled to New Zealand to pursue a professional career.

There is a long list of challengers and would-be major champions who have wilted under Woods's final-round glare but Yang would not go away without a fight at Hazeltine National Golf Club, the longest course in major history.

"It wasn't as nerve wracking as I thought it might be," Yang said. "When I saw the pairings the night before I was really happy to be in the final group of a major. My heart was pounding and nearly exploded."

"I had a rough night but as soon as I got to the first tee I became myself. It is what I have always sort of envisioned."

Yang spoiled Woods's bid to win the PGA for a record-tying fifth time. He finished 72 holes on eight-under par 280.

Woods, who went into the day with a two-shot lead, shot a three-over 75 to reach five-under 283 for the tournament.

"He played beautifully," Woods said of Yang. "He did the things he needed to do. He was driving the ball in play, hitting the ball in the correct parts of the green."

"I was certainly in control of the tournament for most of the day. I just didn't make the putts I needed to make."

England's Lee Westwood and rising star Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tied for third, five shots back of Yang and one ahead of US Open champion Lucas Glover.

Yang set the stage for the birdie on 18 with a brilliant 202-yard approach shot that sailed over a tree and rolled onto the green.

"I thought if I aim true and make a good shot that I have a good chance to seal the deal," Yang said. "I knew Tiger could always have a bad day so I guess this was that day."

Yang, who earned US$1.35 million ($2.01 million)in prize money, clinched the win with a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th. He then celebrated by hoisting his golf bag in the air with both hands before taking possession of the Wanamaker Trophy.



Read more at www.nzherald.co.nz




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