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No home advantage for Yang
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승인 2010.05.03  13:57:48
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▲ Photo by Brian Miller

Playing at home proved to be no advantage for local golf hero Yang Yong Eun last week when he failed to make the cut in the weather-shortened Ballantine’s Championship. Yang, the first Asian to win a major when he beat Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship at Hazeltine last year, won the China Open the previous week but admitted to being “nervous” before play began at the Ballantine’s four-day event. After his first round tee off time was delayed by fog for more than six hours on Thursday, Yang birdied the first hole before play was suspended for the day.

After tournament directors decided to reduce the event to three rounds (54 holes), stating that “the completion of 72 holes within the required time is not feasible,” Yang tied for 114th place, coming in at six over par.

At a pre-event press conference, Yang said he did not feel that having the tournament on Jeju gave him any “special advantage.” He acknowledged that Jeju’s gusty conditions could affect play (the wind is one of three “plenties” Jeju is renowned for, alongside women and stones), but said the European players were also used to such variables.

“I’ve played in Europe before and if you go to Europe, you can see that the conditions or the weather is actually equal or worse off than here on Jeju Island,” he said.

“And I think European players have a great ability [in] overcoming these very difficult situations.”

After Thursday’s foggy start, Friday dawned crisp and clear of fog, though overcast, with a growing wind that quickly blew the clouds away. Few spectators watched Yang’s early morning play, with most of the morning gallery of less than 10 people appearing to be associated with Yang or last year’s champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, who was drawn alongside Ross McGowan of England and Yang. The trio had a grueling second day, having to play a marathon 35 holes, with the gallery growing to several hundred by the end of the day. Though a tiring schedule, it could not be held to blame for Yang’s poor showing, as Jaidee carded 69 and 67 to end the day tied for first at eight under par.

With Yang out of the final round, most local spectators switched their allegiance to Korean-American Anthony Kim and 18-year-old up-and-coming Korean player, Noh Seung Yul, who recorded Sunday’s low round of 68 to tie for fourth with Oliver Fisher of England.

South Africa’s Ernie Els, known by the nickname “The Big Easy,” was another gallery favorite, having shared the lead when play was suspended on Friday. However, three bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine in the final round saw the three-time major winner drop back to tie for ninth in a group of five.





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