14-Year-Old Amateur is Toast of China LPGA Tour

Aged 14, Ni Zixin has become the youngest winner in China LPGA Tour history. Picture by CLPGA.

Nanshan, China: Ni Zixin wrote a new page in the China LPGA Tour history book on Saturday when the 14-year-old amateur won the Golf Liquor Challenge by two strokes to become the circuit’s youngest winner. 

The tall, lithe Wuhan native closed with an even-par 71 over the Garden Course at the CGA Nanshan International Training Centre in Shandong Province to complete a wire-to-wire victory with a score of one-under 212.

Sun Jiaze claimed the RMB30,000 winner’s cheque after closing with a bogey-free 68 to finish runner-up, while amateur Zhang Yahui (73) was third on 216.

Ni, who is 14 years, 11 months and six days old, bettered the mark set by Zhang last October when she won the CTBC Zhuhai Challenge as a 15-year-old.

“I knew that Zhang Yahui was the youngest winner. My goal was to become the youngest winner and break her record. I am happy that I made it today,” said Ni who also won on the CLPG Qualifying Tour development circuit this year. 

Ni, who began the week in 253rd place in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), added: “This was my second start on the CLPGA Tour. I felt very tight during my first start in Beijing last year and didn’t have my best stuff. Since then, I have played many CLPGQ Tour events which was helpful in terms of experience.

“But you know, it might be too much. I felt very tired over the last few holes and made a couple of mistakes from the tee. But the rest was pretty good. I made some good putts.”  

Sun posted her best result since turning pro last year, snaring three birdies over the back nine to return the low round of the tournament. 

“I am happy with this unexpected runner-up finish. I just kept patient because I knew it’s a tough course,” said the 20-year-old Beijing native. “I just tried to hit every green and make two-putts for a par on the front nine. It’s a nice score. It’s a nice second place.” 

Playing in the last group with Ni, Zhang holed out for an eagle-two from 140 yards on the 387-yard 16th hole to secure third place. Her erratic round also included five bogeys and a lone birdie. 

“This result is unsatisfactory. To me, a win is the pass mark. I changed my swing going into the event which led to an inconsistent game for three rounds,” said the teenager, currently 65th in the WAGR, the second highest rated Chinese female amateur after Zeng Liqi, who is 14th.

“Today, I missed plenty of greens and missed many putts. My putter let me down, really. I felt I lost 20 putts for the whole tournament,” she said.

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