by Rory Sharrock, for AmateurGolf.com with
USGA Photo by John Mummert
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - (Aug. 17, 2014) -- The
U.S. Amateur is known to test the physical,
mental as well as the emotional strengths of
participants and passing this year’s exam with
flying gold colors is Gunn Yang from the
Republic of Korea, who defeated Canadian
Corey Conners, 2 and 1.
The San Diego State golfer withstood two
opening rounds of stroke play [Monday and
Tuesday], a week’s worth of match play and a
36-hole affair on Sunday, which included two
bouts of rain, one of which resulted in a 90-
minute delay, before leaving Atlanta Athletic
Club with amateur golf’s most coveted prize.
championship performance also earned him his
first tournament win after a long drought – and
what better spot to snap a losing streak than
the U.S. Amateur.
“I was just trying to make it to the match play
portion, really. That was the goal, first of all.
Then when I made it to the match play, I was
like maybe I can do this,” said Yang.
“I haven't won a tournament for a long
time, like maybe five or six years, and I was
going through an injury, also. So I was just
trying to play my game today [Sunday].
Obviously, it just popped in my head like if I
beat Corey [Conners], I’d win the trophy. But I
was just trying to concentrate and just trying
hit balls and just put it next to the hole and
make the putt. So I'm really excited and really
happy about it.”
Yang was 1-up on No. 11 when a heavy
rainstorm fell upon the course and USGA
officials called for a suspension of play. While
players and spectators rushed for shelter,
utilized the time to cool off from the heat and
refocus on the task at hand.
“I knew it was going to rain, but I was like, I
told my caddie that you don't need to carry all
my rain gear,” said Yang.
need an umbrella, but it rained quite heavily
first time. Then the second time when it
it was a lot worse. So luckily, we got into the
and then I took a nap for 30 minutes and then
was refreshed because I was so tired after
playing 18 holes. I mean, it was hot, also,
today. I was physically tired, but mentally, I
was so stressed out. It definitely helped.”
When play resumed, Yang and Conners
encountered a different course, especially on
green. The storms slowed the lighting fast ACC
surfaces down a touch (they were running at
13 before the rain) and the greens became
more receptive to approach shots as well.
“Putting was the key. Out here, it’s all about
putting I think because the greens are rolling
quickly, especially today. I've never played on
those kind of greens before, so I had some
trouble with distance control out
After flagging his uphill approach shot on the
34th hole, Yang had a chance to close out the
match but lipped out a four-foot putt for
birdie, giving Conners hope for a late rally.
Nevertheless, Conners’ shortcoming on a birdie
attempt on 35, and Yang’s two-putt par sealed
the victory, 2 and 1.
Yang becomes the second Korean-born player
win the U.S. Amateur following Byeong-Hun
who won the crown in 2009 at Southern Hills
Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. This year also
marks the back-to-back U.S. Amateur
Championships during which the finale featured
two international players.
“The game is growing globally in some places
more than it is in the U.S.,” said Thomas
O’Toole, President of the USGA. “Certainly, if
the U.S. Amateur Championship is going to
keep its stature as the most coveted title in
amateur golf, than we have to include foreign-
born players. That’s why we expanded our
exemption categories so they wouldn’t have to
travel all the way over here to play in sectional
qualifying. We think this makes our
championship better. Korea has had boom on
the women’s side and they’re starting to have
on the men’s side. There’s a lot of growth in
Asia and I think we’ll start to see growth in
Latin America too.”
ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur
The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA
championship, was first played in 1895 at
Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The
which has no age restriction, is open to
with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is
of 13 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are
for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent
competition in the world.
Applications are typically placed online, starting
third week in April at www.usga.org.
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