Zhangjiagang Island, Jiangsu Province, China: Two of China’s brightest amateur prospects are aiming to enhance their burgeoning reputations when they line-up against the professionals at the Nelson & Haworth-designed Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club this week.
Yin Xiaowen and Fan Shuangshan, both aged 15, head into the China LPGA Tour’s Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge in positive frame of minds following encouraging recent showings.
They’re also aware that Chinese Tapiei’s Hou Yu-chiang matched the tournament record with a final round eight-under 64 to win by two strokes at the same venue last year.
While Hou is unable to defend her title this week due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Yin and Fan are determined to justify their places in the 75-strong field, which includes 27 amateurs.
Tianjin native Yin is currently ranked second among Chinese amateurs. This month she won the Super Lychee National Amateur Golf Future fourth leg, while in August she was victorious in the first legs of the China Amateur Golf Open and the National Amateur Tour.
Two weeks ago, Yin claimed 2½ points out of three at the Sina Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event, while playing for Liang Wenchong’s losing side. During the singles on the final day, she won the final two holes to halve her match with Zhang Weiwei, last year’s China LPGA Tour Order of Merit champion.
Now at an international school in Guangdong, Yin, who already has two top-10 finishes in pro events this year, said that her plans include going to college abroad and then turning professional.
“Winning those last two holes to tie Zhang Weiwei at the Sina Cup made me excited and gave me confidence as she has won many times on the China LPGA Tour,” said Yin, 84th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). “I have played at Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Golf Club before and this week I just want to perform at my normal level.”
Similar aspirations are shared by Fan Shuangshan, who rebounded from a disappointing outing at the Sina Cup to finish as the leading amateur in last week’s Beijing Pearl Challenge, placing equal 16th.
The Chongqing native, who won four times in 2019, also captured leg six of the China Amateur Golf Open last month.
“The Sina Cup was an interesting event. I learned a lot from the professional players, including their methods for dealing with particular ball positions and their calm minds,” said Fan, 375th in the WAGR. “This week, my plan is to do my best and learn more from the professional players in my group.”
Nelson & Haworth Golf Course Architects is an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.