2011 Masters Leaderboard: Korea in Good Position to Win Its First Green Jacket

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2011 Masters Leaderboard: Korea in Good Position to Win Its First Green Jacket
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Without back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18, Yang was seven under par, the score for the first round lead.

Y.E. Yang shocked the world by beating Tiger Woods.

On Sunday.

While trailing.

In a major. 

Now it's time for Yang, K.J. Choi and Kyung-Tae Kim to shock the world again by donning the first green jacket by an Asian-born golfer at the 2011 Masters.

Yang and Choi needs no formal introduction. Yang is the first Asian-born golfer to win a major, and Choi was ranked as high as No. 9 in the world.

Kim, a regular on the Japan Golf Tour until he won his tour card in 2011, does. Kim has won three Japan Tour victories in his three years and earned approximately $3.3 million. 

All three finished in the top 15 after Thursday's opening round with Yang and Choi trailing by two to leaders Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros' seven-under-par mark. Kim was two under par. 

Yang has played in seven PGA Tour events already, earning over $1.1 million. However, he came into the Masters missing a cut in the Shell Houston Open last week.

Though he had three top 10 finishes and a second-place showing at The Honda Classic, many shoveled Yang's hot start to just a fluke.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
K.J. Choi made birdies in five of the last six holes Thursday, including a 50 footer on 18.

But Yang opened up with a four-under-par 32 on the front nine, erasing some doubts.

Then after an eagle on the par-five 13 and birdies on 15 and 16, Yang's seven-under showed him as a legitimate contender. Without the back-to-back bogeys to finish the round, Yang would've been tied for the lead.

Start of Friday's first four holes, Yang has made three birdies and one bogey to be tied for the lead. He has made moves on the front nine—arguably the harder of the two—too.

Choi was No. 5 in my "10 under-the-radar contenders" prior to Thursday. His consistency of seemingly never making a number greater than five on the golf course should always keep him in major contention.

Now after birdies in five of the last six holes of Augusta National on Thursday, Choi showed he not only doesn't make high scores, but he can go low as well.

Kim is no fluke, either.

Without a double bogey on par-five 15, he would've moved into the top 10. His two-under 70 was a bogey-free round, too.

However, he did make his first and second bogeys on back-to-back holes Friday on holes five and six. Despite being the underdog of the three, Kim has game and may be able to make moves on the back nine.

A lot of golf needs to be played at Augusta National still, but don't be surprised come Sunday if defending champion Phil Mickelson puts a green jacket on a Korean player.  

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