The Loop

Yang unravels on the back nine

June 18, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH -- Nine days after amateur hacks Mark Wahlberg, Wayne Gretzky and Drew Brees tried to break 100 on this excruciating U.S. Open course at Pebble Beach, reigning PGA Champion Y.E. Yang found himself facing a similar challenge on the back nine. Breaking 100 was never a concern for Yang, especially after making the turn in one-under 34. But when Yang played the first five holes on the back nine in nine over, the 50 watch was on.

Yang bogeyed 10, triple-bogeyed 11, bogeyed 12 and 13, then tripled the treacherous par-5 14th to completely unravel. While Yang chipped and flopped and putted and bumped his way to a one-putt 8, playing partners Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington stood side by side and mumbled to one another.

"What was I thinking?" asked Harrington. "I'm glad it wasn't me."

From there, Yang doubled the 15th, bogeyed the 16th and three-putted from six feet on 17 to reach 13 over on the par-36 back nine, with only the famous 18th to play.

Mercifully, he two-putted 18 for par, signed his card, signed a couple of golf balls for the standard bearers and hit the road.

"We're done," said Yang's caddie, Michael Bestor.

After 34-49--83, they sure were.

-- Craig Bestrom