Ruoning Yin wins Women’s PGA Championship, becomes 2nd woman from China with a major title

Ruoning Yin, of China, holds the trophy after winning the Women's PGA Championship golf tournament, Sunday, June 25, 2023, in Springfield, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Becoming the second woman from China to win a major championship left Ruoning Yin in awe, even an hour after being handed the Women’s PGA Championship trophy at Baltusrol.

“When I was walking to this tent, I just said: ‘Oh, wow, major winner!’ It’s amazing. It’s just unreal,” Yin said Sunday.

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Yin made a birdie putt from about 10 feet on the final hole to beat Yuka Saso by one stroke. The 20-year-old closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 8-under 276 and take a place in Chinese sports history next to Shanshan Feng.

“I would say she’s definitely the goal that I’m chasing,” Yin said. “But I think she is the person who inspired me the most.”

Feng, now national golf coach in China, won 23 events worldwide, including 10 on the LPGA Tour.

Yin wasn’t even playing golf when Feng won this event — then known as the LPGA Championship — in 2012. She was 9 years old and didn’t take up the game for another 18 months. Her main sport was basketball and she idolized Stephen Curry, but her shorter stature led her to turn to golf.

Yin has really turned it on the past two years. She picked up her first LPGA Tour win earlier this year in Los Angeles and now is the third player to win twice this season, joining Lilia Vu and world No. 1 Jin Young Ko. This came with a $1.5 million paycheck.

Yin earned it with her fourth birdie on a bogey-free day.

After Saso made birdie ahead of her on the par-5 18th hole to move into a tie for the lead, Yin found the rough with her tee shot, then hit her third shot into an ideal spot and curled in the right-to-left breaking putt, pumping her fist after it dropped.

“I actually kind of felt that I was going to make it, and I made it,” said Yin. “It’s a very weird feeling.”

Rose Zhang, who won in her professional debut three weeks ago, also in New Jersey, made a charge with a final-round 67 and finished in a tie for eighth, three shots back.

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