The number four is known in Chinese culture as an unlucky number, as the character’s design is similar to the design of the word for “death.”
Jing Yan had found even worse luck than just the number four in 2018, with 14 consecutive missed cuts from April to August.
“It was pretty tough to believe in myself,” Yan told LPGA.com about one of the most brutal stretches of her career.
Yan then reflected on her performance and got to work with her coach on her long game. She was struggling with her overall consistency, particularly putting the ball in the fairway and trying to find the green in regulation.
Those two stats were not pretty for Yan last year, finding herself near the bottom of both categories. She finished at 123rd on tour at driving accuracy in 2018, finding the short grass 66.6% of the time.
The inability to find the fairway compounded her issue of getting on the green in regulation. Her tour ranking in greens in regulations was 163rd out of 165, giving herself a look at birdie or better 56.5% of the time.
Part of the remedy was practice with the Chinese national team in the offseason. The team spent a week at TPC Sawgrass, which included fellow LPGA tour player Shanshan Feng.
“I just needed to clean up the technique a little bit. I was missing a lot of shots right, I needed to get my consistency a little bit better, and I think I’ve improved in that stat a bit this year,” Yan explained.
The numbers back up Yan’s claim, as it’s been a dramatic turnaround in the early going of 2019. Yan is now 7th in greens in regulation coming into this week, finding the dance floor 78.7% of the time, and she is ranked 46th in driving accuracy, hitting it into the fairway 77.4% of the time.
Those improvements have been reflected in her scoring. In two events, she has had more rounds in the 60s than she had in 21 events last season.
Her rediscovered confidence has given her a new perspective when playing this season.
“You just have to keep telling yourself you’re going to hit good shots, no matter the outcome.”
Jing Yan sits at (-3) heading into the weekend, joining a trail pack of players with 36 holes to go as she looks for her first career victory.