Korean golfer Yang to debut at Panasonic Open

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 13 (IANS) Korean golfer Y.E. Yang will feature in his maiden appearance at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open later this month with every intention of making up for a quiet campaign on this season's PGA Tour.

Yang, Asia's first male golfer to win a Major championship when he defeated Tiger Woods in a head-to-head showdown at the 2009 PGA Championship, has confirmed his entry at the $1.48 million tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour. He will be joined by Asian Tour champions including reigning Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant, 2011 No.1 Juvic Pagunsan and current Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Yang endured an inconsistent season in the United States where he amassed only two top-25 finishes and missed 10 cuts in 19 appearances, failing to qualify for the on-going play-off series but will be determined to make amends in the tail-end of the season.

He turned to swing coach Mark Blackburn for help earlier this year and believes it will take some time for his game to come around.

"My game is getting better. I've had good practice and my swing and condition feel good. Every player has his up-and-downs. I've had some problems with my swing mechanism and these sort of things happen. I feel a bit more comfortable now so I think my game is getting better," said Yang.

The tournament will make a return to the Ibaraki Country Club from Sep 26-29 and will be important as players jostle for positions on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit.

The top-10 as of Oct 7 will qualify for the $7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia while the leading two players, not otherwise exempt, will qualify for the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China based on the rankings Oct 14.

The sixth straight season of the Panasonic Open is poised to attract a stellar field including defending champion Masanori Kobayashi of Japan. The Ibaraki Country Club, situated in Osaka, was the first venue for the event when it was launched in 2008, which was won by Japan's Hideto Tanihara.

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