Zhuhai, China: Yin Ruoning continued her domination of the revised China LPGA Tour season, beating fellow-teenager Du Mohan on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off to win the Golf Liquor Zhuhai Golden Gulf Challenge.
Last week, the 17-year-old rookie pro won the season-opening Zhuhai Hollywood Mansion Challenge when she bested 18-year-old Du by one stroke for her maiden title.
Playing under sunny conditions at the Colin Montgomerie-designed Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club in Guangdong Province, Yin closed with a bogey-free six-under 66 to finish with a three-round total of 13-under 203. Du, the overnight leader and defending champion, carded a 70.
In the play-off on the 366-yard 18th hole, Du’s approach shot came to rest 30 feet beyond the flag. Her bold birdie attempt skated seven feet past the hole. Yin then rolled her 20-footer for birdie within inches of the cup. When Du’s par putt failed to drop, she picked up her ball and conceded defeat.
Shanghai native Yin, who earned the first prize of RMB30,000, played flawless golf, recording her fourth bogey-free performance in her last five rounds. Four shots off the pace at the start of the day, Yin bridged the gap with back six birdies, including three straight from the sixth hole.
“This victory is unexpected. I didn’t change my plan. I didn’t play over-aggressive. I just tried my best,” said Yin, who also won the CLPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in January as an amateur. “My swing adjustment after the first round gave me plenty of confidence. I felt my long game come back yesterday. I was sharp again.”
Du started the day with a one stroke lead but struggled to get her round going. After a bogey-five at the 389-yard sixth hole, she bounced back with a birdie at the next and another at the ninth. Another birdie at 13 kept alive her hopes, but playing partner Yin replied with three birdies down the stretch to force extra-time.
“I don’t regret this. I was in a peaceful mind from start to end. I am really satisfied with my play,” said Du, a Beijing native who has qualified for December’s US Women’s Open. “The long putt in the play-off was not very good. I then misread the comeback putt.”
Liu Yan (71) was third on 205, while Zhang Jienalin, the first-round co-leader, was fourth following a 70 to finish four shots off the pace. Huang Ying, an 18-year-old from Zhuhai, was the top amateur after closing with a 71 to tie for sixth at eight strokes back.