South Korean star YE Yang won the Volvo China Open 2010
Korean star YE Yang followed-up his USPGA Championship victory to become the first ‘major' winner of the Volvo China Open with a two shot victory over Welsh pair Rhys Davies and Steven Dodd.
Despite travelling 24 hours for the US Masters where he finished 8th, Korean YE Yang held-off jet-lag, fatigue and the best field ever to win the Volvo China Open at Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club, courtesy of a battling one-under-par 71 to finish 15-under-par.
The 38-year-old from Yongin, Korea became the first ‘Major' champion and the first Korean to win China's national open golf championship, taking the US$416,660 (approx €311,708) first prize, his first win since making history by becoming the first Asian player to win a ‘Major,' at the 2009 USPGA Championship at Hazeltine.
"I am very happy and proud to win the Volvo China Open; any national open championship is special, but I feel very comfortable and welcome here in China and I will treasure this victory for a very long time," said Yang, adding, "I would like to come back next year to defend my crown."
YE also gains guaranteed entry to the Volvo World Match Play Championship and for the first time in the history of the Volvo China Open, automatic qualification for the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational later in the year.
Meanwhile, in the year the Ryder Cup comes to Wales, two players from the Principality gave the Korean star a run for his money, 2004 Volvo China Open champion Stephen Dodd and youngster Rhys Davies finishing in joint second place, his five-under-par 67 the round of the day in tricky conditions.
"I had some chances around the turn but a couple of bad tee shots cost me in the end," said Rhys Davies who recorded his maiden European Tour win in Morocco earlier this year.
Meanwhile his compatriot Dodd, who won the first Volvo China Open of the European Tour era finished alongside Davies on 13-under-par, saying, "There seems to be something special about the Volvo China Open where I seem to play consistently well."
Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Jamie Donaldson of Wales both slipped slightly down the leaderboard from their joint second place going into the final round, whilst young Swede Johan Edfors moved-up from seventh to fourth following a final round 69, with US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin finishing in a creditable 16th place, his opposite number Colin Montgomerie down the field in 45th.
Highest-ranked Chinese player was the country's number one Liang Wenchong who finished his national open championship in 17th place, so a Chinese golfer has still to win the Volvo China Open since it joined the European Tour in 2004.
The host country can be pleased with having six players, including amateur Hu Mu making the halfway cut, but the day belonged to Korean star YE Yang as he heralded in the start of a new dynasty with his second significant victory in the Middle Kingdom.
Image: YE Yang with the Volvo China Open trophée from Kosta Boda (Sweden), wearing the winners golden jacket. Volvo China Open 2010, Jinji Lake International Golf Club, 15-18 April, Suzhou, China Picture by Paul Lakatos /Volvo Event management