Historic Victory for 15-Year-Old Chinese Amateur

Yin Xiaowen outshone the professionals to claim her maiden China LPGA Tour win.

Zhangjiagang Island, China: With a five-stroke victory in the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge, 15-year-old amateur Yin Xiaowen wrote her name into golf’s record books as the youngest winner in China LPGA Tour history.

Having led or held a share of the lead throughout the RMB500,000 tournament in Jiangsu Province, the Tianjin native closed with a one-under 71 at Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club for a 54-hole score of eight-under 208. 

Pan Yanhong claimed the RMB75,000 winner’s purse as the Chinese veteran shot a two-under 70 to finish runner-up, one shot ahead of compatriots Liu Yan (72) and Wang Xinying (71). Amateur Zhang Yue, who started the day two shots behind Yin, struggled to a 78 and finished equal fifth with Li Jiayun (74). 

Yin, aged 15 years, 10 months and 21 days, became the eighth amateur to win on Tour. The previous youngest winner was Liu Wenbo, who captured the 2017 Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge when aged 16 years, two months and 11 days. 

Yin’s closing round at the Nelson & Haworth-designed course included three birdies and a double-bogey six at the 369-yard 14th hole where she struggled to recover after driving into thick rough from the tee.   

She said: “I knew last night that as long as I didn’t make big mistakes (in the final round) I would win. So, I played very relaxed. My only mistake was on hole 14, but it didn’t stop me from winning.” 

Yin, who is based in Guangdong where she attends high school at an international school. said she has no plans to turn professional. “I have received offers from Washington University and Wake Forest University, so maybe I will go to college abroad after graduating from high school,” added Yin, whose success will see her rise from 80th in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking at the start of the week.

Pan, a five-time winner on the CLPGA Tour, posted her best result since returning to tournament golf after having a child in late 2018. Her round featured four birdies and two bogeys. 

The 37-year-old Hubei native. “I’ve known Yin Xiaowen since she was a little girl and I think she is great. She looks very thin but she hits very far! I feel happy for her.”

Liu, playing in the final group with Yin and Zhang, struggled to build any momentum in her round as she saw her four birdies wiped out by four bogeys. 

“My putter was not good. At the 18th hole I missed the opportunity to get birdie and the chance to split the prize money for the champion. To be honest I am a little depressed,” said the 22-year-old Xiamen native. 

Zhang Weiwei, the reigning CLPGA Tour Order of Merit champion, ended equal seventh following a 73, while super rookie Yin Ruoning, winner of the first three tournaments this season, was 10th after closing with a 73. 

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