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Pga Championship

Birdies And Bogeys

August 16, 2009|Teddy Greenstein

BIRDIE

Tiger Woods generally gets the last word in golf media guides. It's a function of his name. Since Fuzzy Zoeller left the scene, Woods usually comes last in the alphabet.

But not at the PGA Championship, where Y.E. Yang earns that distinction. And Yang has proved to be far more than a novelty. The 37-year-old South Korean shot a five-under-par 67 Saturday that tied Woods' first round for the low score of the tournament. At six under, two off the lead, he will be paired with Woods today in the final group.

"I may end up in the top 10, top three [or] even win the PGA Championship," Yang said through an interpreter. "You never know in the world of sports or game of golf."

Yang, listed at 5 feet 8 inches and a beefy 195 pounds, didn't take up the game in earnest until he was 19. After serving in the South Korean military, he traveled to New Zealand to pursue a career in chasing the little white ball. Yang's breakthrough came when he held off Woods and Retief Goosen to win the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2006.

"Down the stretch, he outplayed everybody," Padraig Harrington recalled of that victory. "That guy, he knows what he's doing."

He proved that again this year when he won the Honda Classic in Florida.

Give Yang a birdie for his fine play.

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BIRDIE

Ernie Els through 15 holes. The Big Easy lighted up Hazeltine for six birdies, including one on the sinister 510-yard, par-four 12th. He was within one of the lead until . . .

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BOGEY

Ernie Els down the stretch. He hit three poor shots on the par-four 16th, missed a four-footer on 17 and blocked his drive on 18. Els' bogey-bogey-bogey finish left him with a 70, and he's five off the lead. "It all kind of fell apart on me at the end," he said.

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BIRDIE

Soren Kjeldsen. If you can pronounce his last name, leave it on my voice mail. Of more importance, the pint-sized (5-7, 150 pounds) Jon Gruden look-alike with the bizarre putting grip made six birdies in a two-under 70 that keeps him in the hunt.

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BOGEY

Vijay Singh. It's time to exhume the belly putter. Singh missed from near-gimme length on Nos. 6 and 17 and left a six-footer for birdie on No. 9 well short. His stroke was so unsightly, Gary McCord jokingly pleaded with the CBS truck: "Don't show me that again, please."

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BIRDIE AND BOGEY

Steve Flesch. While Woods ground out 15 pars, Flesch's wild ride featured seven birdies, two bogeys and a double. The grand total: 69 strokes.

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BIRDIE

Dan Jenkins. The legendary Golf Digest scribe is reason enough to join the Twitter movement. Among his Saturday tweets: "Four Americans currently in the Top 20. And one's a club pro." Find him at danjenkinsgd.

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BOGEY

Sean O'Hair. The three-time winner on the PGA Tour shot a birdie-free 82, worst in the field by two.

-- Teddy Greenstein

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