June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Clubs are now different, but Yun’s outlook same

WESTFIELD CENTER — A resident of Chandler, Ariz., Andrew Yun has come a long way to play in the Westfield Junior PGA Championship.

His clubs got lost in transit last week when he took part in the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Columbus, but Titleist was nice enough to get him some new ones the next day.

Not exactly the way Yun wanted to start this, his fourth appearance on Westfield Group Country Club’s South Course, but he doesn’t mind the distraction on his “home course.”

“It’s just a laid-back environment here,” Yun said after his practice round on Monday. “I’ve met so many people and made so many friends for life. Their goal is to treat you like a pro here. How can you not like it?”

While Joe Monte, last year’s winner and the 2005 runner-up, is back, Yun isn’t out of the picture.

He’s currently ranked fourth and 11th in the Polo Golf and GolfWeek rankings, respectively. Throw in a No. 12 ranking by Junior Golf Scoreboard and Yun, who turned 16 in May, could be more than a force by the time the tournament ends.

He’s played 12 competitive rounds at Westfield and never finished out of the top 20. A 14th-place finisher in 2004, Yun bettered his placing by two in ’05.

By the time 2006 rolled around, Yun considered himself a frontrunner. With wins at the Ping and FootJoy Invitationals to go along with top-five finishes at the AJGA Polo, Rolex and HP Championships, Yun felt he belonged.

Add first-team Rolex Junior All-American status and the former Tacoma, Wash., resident was on top of the world.

Yun battled on the last day of the Westfield Junior PGA Tournament and eventually finished tied for sixth, just five strokes off the lead at 4-under-par.

“Of course playing here makes me a veteran,” Yun said. “It’s an advantage, but everyone comes here with the same mindset — to win it.

“That’s what I golf for. A lot of people are scared to be in that position. I’m nervous, but not fearful. It’s what I live for. It’s the heat of the moment. I feel like the ones that get out of this climb higher.”

Since last year’s event, Yun has made the move to Chandler, Ariz., and found success.

He finished second this year at the Arizona Public Links Championship and was the only golfer to post three rounds of par or better.

A year ago, Yun posted four rounds of par or better and finished in the red three times on the South Course. It is experience he will certainly use when the tournament begins on Wednesday and concludes Saturday. Just don’t expect him to go out of his way to help his competitors.

“I’m a Christian fellow and try to live that way,” Yun said. “I strive to follow that path, but when you’re on the course, there’s nothing there to stop you.

“You can encourage others, but when you tee it up, it’s all business.”

That’s the approach he’s taking and it’s an approach he hopes pays off with a win.

“So many good names have played here and won,” Yun said. “It would be a great feat.”