Apr 3rd, 2023
Ruoning Yin wins DIO Implant LA Open
Twenty-year-old wins first LPGA title as Hall is runner up once again
Photography: Getty Images
Starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Yin made her first and only par of the front nine on the 1st hole before filling her card with colour on holes two through ten. A birdie on the 2nd was followed by three-straight bogeys. She turned it around right after with four-consecutive birdies that led to a front-nine 34, still two strokes ahead of the nearest challenger. It wasn’t until she made the turn that the Chinese golfer began to think about winning.
“I made a birdie on 2, which is good. But after that I just made three bogeys in a row. Just some small mistake out there. And after 5 I just told myself, can't make one more bogey. I just switch a ball, and, yeah, four birdies in a row,” Yin explained.
“I started think about if I'm going to win or not a little bit. But after 10 and 13, I made two bogey out there and I said, no, you can't think about that no more.”
After her tee shot on the 10th found the right-side rough, Yin’s second shot hit a tree, making par almost impossible. She kept things even over the next two holes before shooting her last bogey of the day on the 13th, where she needed three putts to close out the hole. She hit another tree on the 14th but got a lucky bounce back onto the fairway, allowing her to make birdie. Throughout the round, and the entire week at Palos Verdes Golf Club, she said, it was Yin’s putting that was both her doing and undoing, and keeping three-putts of the card – she had just four in four rounds – played an important part in her success.
“I think before first round I talk to my coach, said I don't know, should I trust the line or trust myself? And my coach just told me, you spend like five minutes on the green, read the line, and putt on the line. You got to trust it or you're just wasting time, yeah,” she said. “I mean, for my game, I have a goal that cannot make three-putts, cannot make double bogey. After I hit the tree (on 10) I said, let's just make bogey here. Don't even think about make par.”
Sitting two shots ahead of nearest chaser Georgia Hall after her birdie on the 14th, Yin made par on the 15th.16th and 17th and walked up to the 18th green with just a one-shot lead after Hall closed the gap on the 16th. The English golfer’s approach shot on the last had the entire gallery convinced she would force a playoff for the second week in a row, but Hall was unable to sink the seven-foot putt for extra holes. Instead, Hall earned her second runner-up performance in as many events after losing in a one-hole playoff to Celine Boutier at last week’s LPGA Drive On Championship.
“I was really happy just to be in this position on the weekend, especially my 9-under yesterday. Yeah, just really proud of myself again,” said Hall, who broke the tournament scoring record during the third round with a 9-under 62.
“Just really gutted not to at least get to another playoff. But a bogey-free round on the final day in tough conditions out there, so just on to the next one.”
With her win, Yin became the second Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2023 season after Lilia Vu at the Honda LPGA Thailand, the second golfer from the People’s Republic of China to win on the LPGA Tour following Shanshan Feng and the second-youngest player to win on Tour since Atthaya Thitikul won in Arkansas in 2022 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Hall’s solo-second result is her third top-10 finish in four events this year. Two players finished in a tie for third, including five-time LPGA champion Hyo Joo Kim and UCLA alumna Patty Tavatanakit. Carlota Ciganda, who shot an impressive 8-under 64 on Saturday and 5-under 66 on Sunday, finished T5 alongside Rolex Rankings World No. 2 Nelly Korda.