MARANA, Ariz. – A resurgent Y.E. Yang bowed out in the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. That served as a stark contrast to the South Korean’s recent play, for Yang has posted only five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour since his stunning victory at the 2009 PGA Championship, where he chased down Tiger Woods and became Asia’s first major champion.
Asked about his experiences at Dove Mountain, where Yang lost to Matt Kuchar in the quarters, Yang said, “There was a party going on right in the back of my hotel, so I didn’t get to sleep until about 12. But not to make any excuses. Kuchar played really well. I just think my game ended up being a bit shaky.”
On the road to his first Match Play quarterfinals, Yang defeated Alvaro Quiros, a recent winner on the European Tour; Stewart Cink, who captured the 2009 British Open at Turnberry; and Graeme McDowell, whose breakthrough 2010 season included a victory at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Yang already is trending toward a more profitable season. Last month, he posted four rounds in the 60s at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, eventually tying for eighth. In 21 PGA Tour starts last season, Yang had only two top-10 finishes, with his best result a solo third at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He finished 67th on the money list with $1,301,726.
K.J. Choi of South Korea finished 33rd on the money list in 2010 with $2,199,962, but he still hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since January 2008 (Sony Open in Hawaii). At the Match Play, Choi topped two-time major champion Retief Goosen, 1 up, in the opening round before falling to Ryan Moore, 5 and 4, in the Round of 32.