The jump from the Epson Tour to the LPGA Tour is sometimes one of the biggest changes in a player’s career. The competition is greater, the purses are larger and playing at that stage is harder. Epson Tour graduate Xiaowen Yin reached that stage all before turning the age of 18.
Yin was one of three players on the Epson Tour in 2022 who seemed to be in contention to win each time they teed it up. During her 2022 season, Yin had seven top-10 finishes, two of which were wins. The then 17-year-old won in back-to-back starts at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship and the French Lick Charity Classic en route to a second-place finish in the Race for the Card, securing her LPGA Tour Membership for 2022.
Yin struggled early in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, making just three cuts in her first 11 starts.
“It's kind of hard for me this year,” said Yin of her rookie season. “I started off the year and I just don't feel like confidence because like I think everyone else is really good, a lot of top players. Sometimes I feel like I'm not good (enough) to be here. But everyone told me, you are on the LPGA. You have potential, and then you just need to believe in yourself.”
After her disappointing start to 2023, the People’s Republic of China native then found herself in Pendleton, Ore., at the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic on the Epson Tour and that is when her entire season turned around. Due to some travel issues, Yin had signed up for that week’s Epson Tour event instead of playing in the ISPS Handa World Invitational on the LPGA Tour. And by the end of her week in Oregon, Yin walked away a three-time Epson Tour champion after a three-shot victory over Alana Uriell and with a newfound confidence to take into the rest of her inaugural LPGA Tour season.
“Yes, it really boosted my confidence,” Yin said of her third Epson Tour win. “It's really good to be back to Epson, but I got to stay on LPGA.”
After her win, she made five cuts of her next six starts on the LPGA Tour, including at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, where she finished in a tie for 10th, her best result of the season.
And that confidence has carried over into LPGA Q-Series where Yin now sits in a tie for 8th, 18 holes away from regaining full status for the 2024 LPGA Tour season. Her fifth-round 66 was her best round of the week by two shots and moved her up 10 places, giving her some comfort heading into the final round.
When asked about her mindset with 18 holes left to play, Yin is keeping it simple. “Just keep doing what I do,” she said. “Just continue and play my golf.”