CHENGDU, China (AFP) ― Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun will both be hoping to defy recent history at the Volvo China Open.
Harrington will be looking for a sharp upturn in form after a poor start to 2011 which has seen the Irishman struggle with a neck injury and miss the cut at the Masters.
Korea’s Yang, who became the first Asian to win a major when he secured the 2009 PGA Championship, is bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the China Open title in the 17th edition of the tournament.
Spaniard Sergio Garcia will also be in the hunt at the $3 million event at Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu, which is co-sanctioned by the European and OneAsia tours.
Yang, who tied 20th at Augusta two weeks ago, said he rated his chances of making history this week.
“Obviously the previous winners were not able to play as well the following year but I hope that won’t happen to me,” he said.
“It is going to be tough but I definitely have a chance. It is my first time in Chengdu. I had a few people recognize me in Shanghai because I won the Volvo China Open near there last year. Obviously no one recognizes me in Chengdu but I hope to change that this week.”
The 39-year-old gave credit for improvements in his swing to an unusual coach ― video-sharing site YouTube.
“When I look at my swing 10 years ago it looks really atrocious. I have spent a lot of time working on it and that is why I have been able to progress so much,” he said.
“My swing has evolved many times over. I have watched a lot of Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus on YouTube. Watching their swings has been a big influence on me.”