Rickie Fowler and Y.E. Yang to compete in Korea

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Rickie Fowler and Y.E. Yang to compete in Korea

Former PGA Championship winner Yang Yong-eun and previous PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler will headline the field at Korea’s national golf championship next month, organizers said yesterday.

The 55th Kolon Korea Open will take place from Oct. 18 to 21 at Woojeong Hills Country Club in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Seoul. On the par-71, 7,225-yard layout, a group of veterans and youngsters will vie for the winner’s purse of 300 million won ($268,200). It’s the largest prize money offered by a golf tournament held in Korea.

Fowler, 23, captured the 2011 Korea Open in wire-to-wire fashion and will look to become the sixth player to successfully defend the championship. Voted the top rookie of the 2010 PGA Tour season, Fowler claimed the Wells Fargo Championship in May this year for his first PGA Tour win.

Yang, 40, is one of three players in the field with two Korea Open wins. Famous for beating then-world No. 1 Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship, Yang earned his first Korea Open title in 2006 and overcame a 10-shot final round deficit to take the national title in 2010.

“I’d love to win the Korea Open for the third time, since this is our national championship,” Yang said. “This tournament is very special to me. It gave me the opportunity to develop into the player that I am today.”

Two others in the field have won the Korea Open twice. Bae Sang-moon, 26, was the back-to-back champion in 2008 and 2009. Kim Dae-sub remains the only amateur champion of the Korea Open, having lifted the trophy in 1998 and 2001.

Kim won a Korean tour event last weekend for his first victory since his discharge from mandatory military service.

Organizers said they’ve altered the playoff format for this year to eliminate the element of luck. Previously, players who were tied after 72 holes squared off in a sudden-death setting on the 18th. This year, the playoff will be played on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, and the aggregate score will determine the champion.

Yonhap

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