RBC Canadian Open

Hamilton Golf & Country Club



hit it farther

Angel Yin is back from injury and hitting it longer. Top teacher explains how

April 10, 2024
2143748355

Orlando Ramirez

Angel Yin looked at the bright side when she suffered an injury in the off-season – at the least, it was the off-season and not the middle of tournament play. She’d have some time to recover without missing too many tournaments. What she didn’t expect was to come back to the LPGA Tour hitting it farther.

Yin withdrew from the first tournament of the year, the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona, and was seen on site wearing a boot on her left leg. While she hasn’t talked about the specifics, she mentioned a broken bone during one of her press conferences. The injury took her out of the next six tournaments. When she arrived in Las Vegas for the T-Mobile Match Play, she said she’d only been hitting balls for three and a half weeks.

That’s what makes her driving stats so interesting.

She’s hitting it far. Like, really far. In Las Vegas, she averaged 292 yards off the tee during the third round. For reference, the longest hitter on tour in 2023, Polly Mack, averaged 282 yards. In the brief practice Yin had before the tournament, she said she saw the difference.

“[I’m] half a club to a club longer in my irons, and my driver is probably -- like with a good shot, I think I probably can push 260 to 270 carry,” Yin said in her pre-tournament press conference. “I was really shocked. I was playing someone and I was out driving them by 100 yards. Usually out drive them by 80,” she continued, smiling.

2136671437

Orlando Ramirez

Usually, you’d think coming back from an injury means you’ll have to work on getting your distance back. So how exactly did Yin, who started the week unsure of how her leg would hold up walking each round, get longer? If you ask her, she’ll tell you it’s because of the rest she got while recovering.

“I feel healthier because I've had the time not to travel and just stay in one place,” Yin explained.

But the answer could also be found in her swing. We sent the two following videos to Top 50 Teacher Erika Larkin, the first is Yin hitting a driver pre-injury at the 2023 Solheim Cup. The second is Yin this week in Las Vegas, post-injury.

Larkin says Yin could be finding more distance by having quieter footwork through impact. “She may be transferring power more to her arms and clubhead in a different way,” Larkin explains. “Another hypothesis is that she’s using her hips more than she used to to compensate for less foot input. Maybe, that’s creating more speed in the upper body.”

Yin’s newfound length helped get her into the top eight after three rounds of match play in Las Vegas. In her first match, she played Nelly Korda – who has won her last three LPGA starts. Yin lost the match 3&2. Despite that loss, this first tournament back from injury is still certainly a success. And it’s a reminder that unexpected positives can come from setbacks. Even something as brutal as a broken bone can lead to a swing change that unlocks more distance.