LIN HAS HIGH HOPES FOR CHINESE ON THE BIG STAGE
China’s Xi Yu Lin said her team’s accession to making the UL International Crown field somewhat came as a surprise. Team China was ranked No. 7 at the cut off after the ANA Inspiration and is currently ranked 8th.
“Actually, I never think we can get in International Crown like that soon, like this year,” said Lin. “Because I think all junior player are playing good maybe in another one or two years we will definitely get in.”
After Yuting Shi won the Zhuhai Hengqin Phoenix Tree Building Challenge on the LPGA of China in March, the 18-year-old jumped 25 spots in the Rolex Rankings. Lin said the teenager’s success back in their home country is a sign of good things to come from the next generation of female golfers.
“That is really good sign, because that means even she’s not having a tour card yet but she’s been doing really good, playing good golf,” said Lin. “I can see lots of player are getting much better.”
Lin also knows that the impact of a good showing at the UL International Crown or the Olympics could change an entire country’s perspective on a sport that is seen to be too exclusive.
“I expecting as much as possible,” said Lin. “Yeah, because now in China golf is still not such a popular sport. So hopefully after Olympics and also International Crown they will change their mind. We been doing like -- especially Shanshan been doing a lot because she having her own academy. They bring the golf lesson to the primary and middle school and let the kids know how good is golf. Let them know actually don’t really need to be good player, but you can still playing good golf and come to the college in the States.”
UL International Crown - Team China:
|51||Xi Yu Lin|
CROWDED RACE FOR SPOTS ON KOREAN OLYMPIC TEAM
As the 11th ranked player in the world, So Yeon Ryu would likely qualify for the Olympic Games as a member of nearly any country. However, the leader after the first round at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic has five fellow Koreans ahead of her in the Rolex Rankings. The top-15 in the Rolex Rankings automatically qualify for the Olympic field with a maximum of four players per country. Outside of the top-15, a maximum of two players per country will earn entry.
Ryu knows she will need to elevate her play over the next few months to earn a spot in a highly contested race in order to represent Korea in the Olympic Games in August.
“To be honest, Olympic is really important and absolutely I want to play on it, but I think these days just Olympic just drive me crazy. I just really want to focus on my golf,” said Ryu. “So, yeah, this week I just switch my mindset. Okay, if somebody deserve to play Olympic, they going to play Olympic. If I deserve it, then I am going to play Olympic. So I really try to focus on me rather than focus on any other thing.”
Korean Golfers In The Top-15 In The Rolex Rankings:
|5||Sei Young Kim|
|6||In Gee Chun|
|8||Ha Na Jang|
|11||So Yeon Ryu|
|13||Hyo Joo Kim|
NUMBERS TO KNOW
63 – So Yeon Ryu made nine birdies en route to a first round 63, setting a new tournament record.
3 – Three players (So Yeon Ryu (63), Candie Kung (65), Haru Namura (65)) shot 65 or better, the score that was previously the tournament record set by Brooke Henderson in the second round in 2015.
9 – So Yeon Ryu and Candie Kung led the field with nine birdies each on Thursday.
29 – So Yeon Ryu birdied seven of her first nine holes and set a career 9-hole low by shooting 29 starting on the back nine Thursday.
39 – So Yeon Ryu has 39 starts between her last win (August 21, 2014 – Canadian Pacific Women’s Open) and this week at Swinging Skirts.
19 – Lydia Ko shot a 4-under 68 in the first round, her Tour-leading 19th round in the 60s on the year. In 2014 she finished the year in second with 47 rounds in the 60s, and was No. 1 on Tour with 48 such rounds in 2015.
3 – Haru Nomura is seeking to become the third player to win multiple events in 2016, joining Lydia Ko (Kia Classic, ANA Inspiration) and Ha Na Jang (COATES Golf Championship, HSBC Women’s Champions). Nomura’s first win of the year came at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February.