Yang Leads, 1 Up, at Midway Point of U.S. Amateur Final

By Brian DePasquale, USGA
August 17, 2014

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Gunn Yang, 20, of the Republic of Korea, holds a 1-up lead over Corey Conners, 22, of Canada, following the opening 18 holes of Sunday’s championship match of the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at the 7,279-yard, par-71 Highlands Course at Atlanta Athletic Club.

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Yang, who is bidding to become the first Korean to win the U.S. Amateur since Byeong-Hun An in 2009, won the first two holes in the morning. He made a nice recovery for a par on the first hole after hitting his tee shot into the right fairway bunker and then made an 11-foot birdie putt on the following hole.

Conners, who advanced to the championship final with a 1-up victory over Denny McCarthy, of Rockville, Md. and reached the semifinals for the second consecutive year, was conceded a short birdie on the 560-yard, par-5 fifth that sliced the lead in half. Yang pushed his cushion back to a two-hole advantage when he made a 3½-foot par putt on the par-3 seventh.

Conners, a recent graduate of Kent State University who is trying to become the third Canadian to win the U.S. Amateur and the first since 1971, twice more cut into his opponent’s margin. However, Yang, who defeated Frederick Wedel, of The Woodlands, Texas, in 19 holes, in the semifinal round, answered with a 32-foot uphill birdie putt at No. 9 and won the par-3 15th with a 9-foot par putt.

Yang unleashed a 333-yard drive on the par-5 18th, while Conners found the right fairway bunker, which forced him to lay up. It appeared Yang, the junior-to-be at San Diego State University, would be in position to increase his lead. But Conners won the hole by lofting his approach to within 4½ feet to set up a birdie, while Yang ran his 65-foot eagle putt past the hole and settled for par.

Brian DePasquale is the USGA’s manager of championship communications. Email him at bdepasquale@usga.org.

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