PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

DIO Implant LA Open

Ruoning Yin becomes LPGA Tour's second ever winner from China

April 02, 2023

Ruoning Yin became just the second golfer from China to win a LPGA title on Sunday at Palos Verdes Golf Club.

Katelyn Mulcahy

Nine miles from Palos Verdes Golf Course sits the Port of Long Beach, a primary trade point between the United States and Asian countries. Fitting, then, that it served as the backdrop to the latest import of Asian talent to the LPGA Tour. With a one-under 70 on Sunday, Ruoning Yin claimed a one-shot victory at the DIO Implant L.A. Open, the heralded 20-year-old become the second winner from China alongside Shanshan Feng in the LPGA's history.

“That [win] means a lot, not just for me, but also for China, I think,” Yin said. “And Shanshan is always my goal here, and I think she got 10 tour wins. … She's definitely the person I look up to.”

Yin hung on during an up-and-down Sunday as she fended off four major champions, including Georgia Hall and Hyo Joo Kim playing with her in the final group. She carded five bogeys on the day, including three straight early on the front nine, but offset them with five birdies, including four in a row to close out her opening nine.

“I'm so happy that I fought back, and, yeah, from holes six to nine it was great four birdie out there,” Yin said.

Redemption for Hall will have to wait. The 2018 Ricoh Women's Open winner lost in a playoff last week to Celine Boutier at the Drive On Championship. She kept the momentum going into Palos Verdes Estates, posting a tournament-record nine-under 62 during Saturday’s third round. Starting Sunday four back of Yin, hall put herself five feet away for a chance to catch her on the 72nd hole. Instead of playing in back-to-back playoffs, Hall missed her birdie putt on the home hole wide left. She wiped away tears following the lost opportunity as her closing bogey-free 68 led to a 14-under finish and a second straight second place.

“I felt a little like Seve out there, so just have a chance on the last hole and gave myself the best opportunity,” Hall said. “Unfortunately, the greens this time of day are very bobbly, and it was tough to know what was the right line to pick. Unfortunately, just bobbled off line.”

It’s Hall’s third top-10 in four starts this season. The Englishwoman has shot even par or better in 11 of 12 rounds to begin 2023.

Patty Tavatanakit’s 12-under T-3 finish revived confidence within the Thai star. The 2021 ANA Inspiration winner hadn't finished in the top 10 since a T-4 at last season's Chevron Championship in April. Her Sunday 65 was the payoff to six months of working on her technique and mental game.

“This is Patty 2.0, I think. Nothing can really be the same,” Tavatanakit said.

Hyo Joo Kim matched Tavatanakit at T-3 but was the only other player to grab the lead at any point Sunday. The 2014 Evian Championship winner started two back of Yin. Then, as Yin bogeyed, Kim took the lead on the fifth. The South Korean birdied the seventh to get to two under for her round. She stalled from there. The 27-year-old posted an even par 71, with three bogeys the rest of the way, taking her out of contention.

Nelly Korda, the 2021 KPMG Women's PGA Championship winner, joined Carlota Ciganda at 11-under to finish T-5. It's Korda’s fourth top-10 of the season in five starts.

Yin secured her spot on the Chinese team that will compete in the Hanwha Life Plus International Crown, the tour's team event, at TPC Harding Park in early May. Yin will lead her team as the only player with a victory, giving them confidence as the country makes its second appearance in the tournament’s fourth running.

"I think for me, it's my first tour win, and I think it's kind of motivation for them, too,” Yin said.