Yin on top of the world as inexorable rise continues

2023-09-12 11:38:50China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Chinese star earns No 1 ranking, hailing latest milestone as 'dream come true'

China's Yin Ruoning became the world No 1 in women's golf on Sunday by finishing third at the LPGA Queen City Championship.

The 20-year-old became only the second Chinese mainland woman to claim the world No 1 ranking after Feng Shanshan, who stayed at the summit from November 2017 to April 2018.

"It means a lot. For me it's like a dream come true," Yin said.

"I've got goosebumps. World No 1 is a big step on the way to chasing Shanshan."

Yin will play on a Chinese team coached by Feng at the Asian Games, which open on Sept 23 in Hangzhou.

"I didn't get a lot of chances to chat with Shanshan," Yin said. "But I'm looking forward to going back to China and playing the Asian Games and spending more time with her, considering she's the head coach of our national team."

Yin, who needed a top-four result to overtake American Lilia Vu for top spot, missed out by two strokes on a playoff for the Queen City title between Australia's Minjee Lee, who won the title with a birdie on the second extra hole, and England's Charley Hull.

But Yin fired a final-round five-under-par 67 to finish third on 14-under 274 at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, and become the fifth different player atop the rankings this year.

"It's just amazing," Yin said.

"My mind is blank right now."

Second-ranked Yin won her first major title in June at the Women's PGA Championship, two months after collecting her first LPGA victory at the LA Open.

Others atop the rankings this year included New Zealand's Lydia Ko, Americans Vu and Nelly Korda and South Korea's Ko Jin-young.

Vu's three triumphs this year included major wins at the Chevron Championship in April and the Women's British Open in August.

Yin never managed to share the lead, settling for her fourth third-place finish in five events, but did what she needed to leap to the top of the rankings.

"I'm pretty comfortable," Yin said. "Just every week I know I'm in a good spot and every week I can put myself into that winning circle. It's just amazing to see I can play good, but also consistent."

Yin sandwiched birdies at the par-5 second and fourth holes around another at the par-3 third to charge into third early.

She began the back nine with a birdie and added another at the par-5 15th to solidify her hold on the spot, then parred her way to the clubhouse.

"Before this week, I know (depending on) what position I finish, I can be the world number one," Yin said. "I just keep that in my mind.

"Last hole I checked the leaderboard. I was like, 'OK, another week finishing third, but I'm assuming I'll be the world number one.'"

Lee lifts trophy

Lee lost a five-shot lead on the back nine Sunday and recovered at just the right time, hitting a wedge to 2 feet (60 centimeters) for birdie to beat Hull on the second playoff hole.

Lee, a two-time major champion, won for the first time this year after closing with a 1-under 71. It was her second playoff victory on the LPGA Tour, and she never imagined it would get to that point.

The 27-year-old Australian seized control early and led Hull by five shots through 10 holes.

Six holes later, they were tied.

Lee led by four on the par-5 12th, with Hull already having hit her second shot into the water.

Lee decided to go for the green with a fairway metal, and she pulled it so far left that it went out of bounds, leading to a double bogey.

Hull dropped only one shot, cutting the deficit to three shots, and then she made three birdie putts in the 12- to 18-foot range on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to catch Lee.

"I had a few moments where I felt I was losing, but I wasn't," Lee said. "I was like, 'Let's play until the end and see where it ends up.' I didn't give up. I played every shot the best I could and won the playoff, so it feels nice."

Lee won for the ninth time in her career. She now heads off for the LPGA Tour's Asia swing before returning for the final domestic stretch in November.


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