Yang holds on for win at Honda

By Associated PressMarch 8, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Y.E. Yang was first to finish at last years Honda Classic.
 
This time, he finished first.
 
Alone in front throughout, Yang shot a final round of 2-under 68 Sunday to finish one shot ahead of John Rollins and pick up his first PGA Tour victory.
 
The Korean took command with three straight birdies on the front side and wouldnt fold, picking up a two-year exemption and a check for $1,008,000. With the win, he qualified for next weeks CA Championship at Doral, plus earned an invitation to next months Masters.
 
Y.E. Yang
Y.E. Yang is congratulated on his first PGA Tour victory. (Getty Images)
Yang played last years final round at PGA National by himself, going off first and needing only 1 hour, 53 minutes to finish.
 
He was there until the very end this time, pumping his fist in the air when his 50-footer for birdie nestled to a stop a foot away from the cup, giving him a tap-in for victory.
 
For a guy whose claim to fame was beating Tiger Woods at the 2006 HSBC Champions in Shanghai, it was a moment to savor.
 
Rollins made birdie at the par-5 18th to get within two shots of Yang, who was one hole behind and in a greenside bunker at the par-3 17th. And when Yangs 10-footer for par tailed right and stopped short, the lead ' four shots earlier in the day ' was down to one.
 
He cringed when his third shot sailed off target at the finishing hole, but coolly two-putted for the win.
 
Rollins (67) was alone in second and he, like Yang, qualified for the CA Championship by moving into the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings. Ben Crane (68) was third after finishing 6 under and Jeff Klauk (71, with 17 pars and one bogey) was alone in fourth, another shot back.
 
There were 25 players who started the final round within six shots of Yangs lead, and some made early charges.
 
Robert Allenby started with two birdies in his first three holes and eventually got to 7 under, but never got going on the back side and finished 4 under, tied for fifth with Will MacKenzie (70), Fredrik Jacobson (70) and Scott Piercy (65).
 
Mark Calcavecchia was seeking an oddity: Winning the Honda for the third time, on what could be described as an every-11-year plan. He won the event in 1987 and 1998.
 
But the string wouldnt continue in 2009.
 
Just like last year, when he was in contention during the Hondas final round before chipping onto a waterside pile of rocks ' and then tossing his ball into the drink ' at the 15th, Calcavecchias chances were all wet again.
 
This time, his undoing came at the 11th, when he hit into a greenside hazard. He rolled up his right pant leg, hacked the ball out of some muck and salvaged a bogey, but got no closer and shot 73, capped by another tee ball in the water at the 17th.
 
And Rory McIlroy ' still bidding to become the youngest winner in PGA Tour history ' worked his way up the leaderboard as well, before consecutive bogeys to end his round left him tied for 13th.
 
Im pretty disappointed the way I finished, McIlroy said. I got myself into a great position this afternoon and just let it slip.
 
With that, the 19-year-old turned his attention quickly to Doral. If he wins there, hell top Johnny McDermott as the youngest tour winner ever; McDermott set the mark by winning the 1911 U.S. Open.
 
If I can just keep playing the way I have been, maybe just try and give myself a few more opportunities and try and limit my bogeys, Ill hopefully have another good one next week, McIlroy said.
 
Davis Love III also was part of the nine-way tie for 13th, which turned out to be significant. Love should barely be No. 50 in the world rankings on Monday, which would be good enough to get him into Doral. If he stays in the top 50 through Bay Hill, hed be back at Augusta National as well.
 
Erik Comptons inspiring week ended with a 72, finishing tied for 44th at 3 over. The two-time heart transplant recipient said he struck the ball but simply couldnt score, three-putting from 20 feet at the first, missing a tap-in at 15, and not making anything longer than 8 feet all day.
 
He will play next week on a sponsors exemption in Puerto Rico, take a week off, then finish the month at Bay Hill.
 
And while walking the 72 holes left him a bit tired ' he is, after all, nine months removed from getting his third heart ' Compton refused to make excuses.
 
Im just stupid to think that I can play well enough to win out here, Compton said. I should have done better this week. I played better than what I got out of my game. So thats the frustrating part. My health is fine.
 
Safe to say, Yang was feeling better than Compton.
 
He took a job on a driving range as a 19-year-old ' by comparisons sake, the same age McIlroy is now ' and didnt break 100 the first time he played.
 
Now, the son of vegetable farmers is a PGA Tour winner.
 
DIVOTS
The last person to win the Honda by more than two shots was Calcavecchia, who beat Vijay Singh by three in 1998. Klauk had a chance to chip in at the 14th hole for the third straight day, but missed by about a foot. Defending champion Ernie Els shot 66 and finished tied for 22nd.
 

Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Honda Classic
  • Full Coverage - Honda Classic
  • South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.


    Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:


    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''