Relatively unknown Korean Yang Yong-eun held off challenges from Tiger Woods, Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen to take the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.
Goosen took a one-shot lead into the final day of the event and looked comfortable early on when he birdied the 2nd and 3rd, but a back nine of 39 saw his chances disappear. Yang took control after three consecutive birdies from the 6th, and another birdie on the 12th gave him some breathing space from the faltering Goosen. A final-round 69 saw Yang take the title by two shots.
Woods left himself with too much to do after a disappointing third round of 73. He fought back valiantly on Sunday and made six birdies on his way to a 68 but it was too little too late. The world number one saw his winning streak of six consecutive stroke play events come to an end. A superb, bogey-free 64 by Michael Campbell helped ease the pain of his third-round 77 but it was only good enough to finish tied for third.
Yang was almost speechless after taking the title and the $833,300 in prize money.
“I don’t know why I am sitting here to be honest. It just feels so new right now,” he said.
The event highlighted how the European Tour has become a truly global phenomenon as there were nine different nationalities in the top 10. The top Europeans in the field fared well as last season’s Order of Merit rivals Padraig Harrington and Paul Casey finished tied for sixth alongside Robert Karlsson. Fellow Ryder Cup star Luke Donald had a disappointing weekend but still finished tied for 14th. Last season’s rookie of the year, Marc Warren, justified his title with a very steady week in which he finished fifth on his own. Yang will now join the European Tour full time.