Woods' Winning Streak Ends at HSBC

Monday, November 13th 2006, 6:30 am

By: News On 6

SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ Tiger Woods' stroke-play winning streak is over at six. Woods failed to win a stroke-play event for the first time since July 9, finishing two shots behind South Korea's Yang Yong-eun in the HSBC Champions on Sunday.

Yang, a regular on the Japanese tour who has played infrequently outside Asia, closed with a 3-under 69 Sunday for a 14-under 274 and a two stroke victory over Woods at the HSBC Champions tournament. Yang won $833,000.

The loss ended his streak of stroke-play victories, dating to his runner-up finish to Trevor Immelman on July 9 in the Western Open.

The only streak that remains for Woods is his six straight victories on the PGA Tour. The HSBC Champions is sanctioned by the European, Asian, Australasian, South African, and was the first official tournament of the 2007 European tour season.

Woods' overall winning streak ended at five in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in September when he was eliminated in the first round.

Woods started the final round five shots behind and never really threatened to overtake Yang. Woods birdied the 14th, 16th and 18th holes, making a 4-footer on the final hole. He said his 73 on Saturday in cold, blustery conditions cost him a good run at the title in Asia's richest tournament.

``I wasn't quite good enough,'' Woods said. ``Yesterday just killed me. I was so far back and Yang just played a great stretch of holes and just put it out of reach for all of us that were 6 or 7 under trying to make a run at him.''

Third-round leader Retief Goosen hit his approach on 18 in the water, part of a horrendous back nine when he shot 39 en route to a 1-over 73 and a total of 11 under. He was tied for third with New Zealand's Michael Campbell, who matched the course record with a 64.

Yang started the day at 11-under par, one behind overnight leader Goosen, but took a three-shot lead with seven holes to play. He said he got nervous after a bogey at the 16th, but felt confident when he reached the green on the 18th after watching Goosen hit into the water.

``It's just such a big moment in my life right now I can't explain it in words,'' Yang said. ``Now that I've won, I want to play a lot of tournaments overseas _ in Europe, the United States and Japan. I want to compete against the best in the world, now this gives me the chance.''

Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open champion, had a terrible third round, making 10 bogeys in a 77. But he improved on that score by 13 strokes Sunday, making five birdies on the front nine and three on the back.

He shares the course record with Woods and Henrik Stenson, who both had 64s on Friday.

Scotland's Marc Warren finished fifth at 10 under, followed by European No. 1 Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson and Paul Casey at 8 under.

Second-ranked Jim Furyk closed with a 68 and finished at seven under in a share of ninth with K.J. Choi, Johan Edfors, Italy's Francesco Molinari and India's Jyoti Randhawa.

Woods said the form he showed in the second round was verging on what is was before his five-week break.

He was followed by a packed gallery, buzzing with excitement on almost every shot.

``I wish I could have made a few more birdies and made it more exciting for them. We challenged for a win, but it wasn't the case,'' Woods said.

The 30-year-old American took on the course from the start, trying to make up ground.

He used a wood to hit out of a bunker hoping to hit the green in two on the par-five second hole. He landed it just on the verge of the green, but had to settle for par.

He also narrowly missed a birdie putt at the par-three fifth, where the distractions of a cackle of gunfire from an automatic weapon and a bugle salute from an adjoining army base brought a smile to his face.

It was a missed putt for eagle at the par-five 14th ended his challenge, Woods said.

``It was a momentum blower,'' said Woods, who admitted he did not know anything about Yang until now.

``I was just trying to make as many birdies as I can and maybe get second,'' Woods said. ``If I could shoot 30 on the back nine somehow, I thought maybe I could get into a playoff at best. It didn't happen.''

Yang has won four times on the Japanese tour and won his first Asian Tour event earlier this year in a Korean Open field containing Goosen.

Yang will play the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan next week, where Woods will attempt to defend his 2005 title.

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