ROOKIE SENSATION YIN SETTLING INTO LPGA CAREER
What a rookie season it has been for Angel Yin. The 19-year-old from Arcadia, Calif., tied for third at the 2016 LPGA Q-School to wrap up her card for 2017 and has made the most of her first year on the road. She has four top-10 finishes, including a quarterfinal run at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play, and has impressed scores with her prodigious length off the tee. Yin’s driving average of 271.8 yards puts her in fifth behind four of the biggest guns on Tour – Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Joanna Klatten, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda.
That drive and length, to go with a relaxed attitude that belies her young age, impressed Captain Juli Inkster enough to go with Yin as one of her captain’s picks for the 2017 USA Solheim Cup Team. But while Yin was certainly impressed by her week in West Des Moines, her laidback nature shines through when she’s asked about how her life has changed.
“Nothing changed,” said Yin with her signature dry laugh. “Yeah, but really, honestly nothing changed. Normal, everyday life.”
One thing that has changed is her new major sponsor, with Yin sporting JDX on her shirt starting at last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship. Yin joked that even Inkster wanted to get her star rookie some sponsorship.
Last week in Korea was yet another breakthrough for Yin, who sat atop the leader board after two rounds and had her first experience playing in the final group on Saturday.
“Being in the final group for the first time felt amazing,” said Yin. “It was awesome. The crowd was crazy. Felt like a major. It honestly felt like Solheim.”
While Yin struggled over her final two rounds and ultimately finished T8, she knows exactly which moment she’ll look back to as she tees it up this week at Miramar for the first time.
“I need to be like me second round, Friday, where I just don’t think,” said Yin, who sits second in Rookie of the Year points behind Sung Hyun Park. “I just keep playing. No score boards, nothing. Just keep playing golf shot by shot. I need to channel that, channel Friday Angel.”
BUBBLE TEA LEADS TO MANY SMILES
Ask many LPGA players their favorite parts of coming to this tournament and you’ll undoubtedly hear “bubble tea” mentioned many times. Bubble tea is an iconic Taiwanese drink, combining tea, milk, sugar and chewy tapioca balls into an icy beverage perfect for the island’s warm climate.
Sei Young Kim, Lydia Ko, Brittany Lincicome and Yani Tseng had the opportunity to learn how to create the delectable concoction at Monday’s pre-tournament photo call, and Lincicome even mentioned that she includes bubble tea in her post-round relaxation.
“I drink a lot of bubble tea,” said Lincicome, who packed an extra-large helping of tapioca balls into her bubble-tea cup. “I just try to get enough sleep and rest as possible after a very hot and very long week.”
Eight players in this week’s field have competed in all six previous playings of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship – Chella Choi (best finish is T11 in 2013), Na Yeon Choi (best finish is T8 in 2012), Eun Jee Ji (best finish is T2 in 2015) Candie Kung (best finish is T5 in 2016), Azahara Munoz (best finish is second in 2011 and 2013),Pornanong Phatlum (best finish is T23 in 2012), Jenny Shin (best finish is T14 in 2015) and Yani Tseng (best finish is a win in 2011)
Ha Na Jang won the 2016 Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship in her only championship appearance
“It’s home and the more fans, the more enjoyable it is. It comes with more pressure but I’m happy with pressure. But I’ve been practicing and I feel very comfortable playing here.”
- Yani Tseng, on playing in her home country
“It’s just about playing smart and when you get an opportunity try to grab a birdie. I think the weather is huge around this golf course, so you really have to be smart.”
- Lydia Ko, on the challenge presented by Miramar Golf Country Club