PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. | It was heartbreak for Xiyu Lin two weeks ago at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as the People’s Republic of China native bogeyed the last hole at Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course to fall short once again of capturing her first LPGA Tour title. But as the 27-year-old is wont to do, she picked herself up, dusted herself off and went right back at it, carding a 4-under 68 in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Lin made one bogey and five birdies on Thursday, including on three of the four par 5s, no surprise considering Lin is ranked fourth on Tour in par-5 scoring this season. The 68 is Lin’s lowest first-round score ever in the U.S. Women’s Open, and while she didn’t feel like she had her ‘A’ game, getting around Pebble Beach with only one bogey on the card is a rather impressive feat that Lin was proud of.
“It was a really good round out there today. I feel like my game wasn't at the best; especially first couple holes I struggled get on the green, even from the fairway,” said Lin. “But I saved some really, really good pars, so I think that take some pressure off my shoulder to have a solid start. Obviously, the bogey on the last hole was a little unfortunate. I definitely had a chance to go for bogey-free round. But it's a major course so you're going to make bogey. I think overall, it's still a very solid day for me.”
Lin has been one of the most consistent players on Tour in 2023, earning top-three finishes at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro (T2), Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give (T3) and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (T3). She also has one additional top 15, a tie for 14th at The Chevron Championship in April. Coming into this week at Pebble Beach, Lin tied for third in most strokes gained total in the previous two major championships, gaining 2.68 strokes on the field alongside Allisen Corpuz, and she ranked eighth in strokes gained total on the year (+1.68). It’s been an impressive stretch of golf, one that Lin has been enjoying, trying to stay patient and let that ever-elusive win come to her.
“I feel like when you're on a good run, you better just get something out of it,” said Lin, who had three runner-up finishes in 2022. “After the two missed cuts I regrouped myself, set a new goal, set a new game plan. Obviously, it's working, so I just wanted to keep it going and see what happened. I was definitely trying too hard a couple months ago, thinking I need extra skill to able to win the tournament. Then we kind of calmed down and thought of last year, one of the best season I have, and all I did whole year. There were no swing changes. I kept things simple. Kind of remind myself what brings me here.”
Lin is also working on gratitude this week, trying as much as she can to enjoy the walk around Pebble, an easy task considering all the scenic vistas and beautiful views the course has to offer, snuggled up to the rocky coastline. And that perspective is something that Lin will keep in mind through the next three rounds as she chases another shot at victory.
“Before I came out here I went to see my club fitter and I said, ‘I need tape for Pebble’ and he told me, ‘Whatever hole you're at, take 30 seconds to look up at the view and you will be very grateful where you are.’ I think it's absolutely right,” she said. “So I told myself no matter what, this is going to be a memorable week. I will try to get the best out of myself but no matter what happened I always enjoyed it.”